Category Archives: Current Events

29 November 2019

Walking. Morningside Gardens.
Crimson Parsons – Keith Secola
Sand Creek Massacre Mourning – Otis Taylor
Fiume Sand Creek – Fabrizio De Andre
Jerusalem – Steve Earle
Dignity – El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe
Bala Hdood – Ettijah (YouTube)
We Shall Overcome (Song for Palestine) – Roger Waters (YouTube)
Untitled – Kallemi (YouTube)
Song for Palestine – Nora Roman & The Border Busters
Jerusalem – Abraham Jam
He Mele Lahui Hawai’i – Tavita Te’o
Hawai’i Pono’i – Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus
All Along the Watchtower – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Where Is the Love? – The Black Eyed Peas
Divine – Earth, Wind & Fire
Fountain of Sorrow – Joan Baez
Take a Bow – Rihanna
So Young – The Corrs
Siasi – O’Shen

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Filed under Current Events, Exercise, Human Rights, Music

28 November 2019

Walking. Morningside Gardens.
Cooking (of course the calories expended were more than offset by eating while the cooking was taking place).
Opening Song for the Maker – Joy Harjo
Meadowlark Sunrise – Fire Crow
Sacred Promises – Brule
The Prayer – SupaMan
Rockin the Res – John Trudell
Rez Yard – Native Root
Farer of the Waters – Jack Gladstone
Akua Tutu – Kashtin
You’re a Brave One – Joanne Shenandoah
For My People – Litefoot
Red Streaking into the Water – R. Carlos Nakai
Brave Heart – Luis Cachiguango
I Walk in Two Worlds – Shelley Morningsong
Golden Feather – Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble
Edge of America – Annie Humphrey
Trail of Freedom – Bill Miller
Our Precious Mothers – Bear Fox
Native North American Child – Buffy Sainte-Marie
Zuni Friendship Song – Chester Mahooty
Back to the Beginning – Frank Waln, feat. Tanaya Winder
Never Let Go – Nitanis “Kit” Largo
So Beautiful – Pamyua
We Are Hear – Sharon Burch
We Are the Children – Thunder Bird Sisters

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Filed under Current Events, Exercise, Music, New York, playlist

I wanted to throw up

I wanted to throw up.

My friend shared the news about the death of Ruth George on her Facebook page. Since I had not heard what happened, I went looking.

In an online story, the Chicago Tribune reports that Ruth George, an honor student at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus was killed Saturday night.

According to the story, Cook County prosecutors allege that Ruth George’s accused killer grew angry when she ignored his repeated attempts to talk. He followed Ruth into a parking garage. There he attacked her. Prosecutors report he dragged Ruth to her car where he sexually assaulted her. She died from strangulation.

After I read the story, I returned to my friend’s Facebook page. I noted that the story broke my heart.

My first reaction, however, was an urge to throw up.

The attitude that men are entitled to the attention of women, which is an element of rape culture, lies behind this horrific incident. And that sickens me.

A woman refusing to speak to a man is no reason for the man to respond in anger. But too often men do.

Men have no right to women’s conversation, time, attention, bodies, anything. The presumption that we do is wrong and must be challenged and changed.

Women do not have to speak to men … do not have to speak to men they know … do not have to speak to men they don’t know … do not have to speak to men.

No is always an appropriate answer. No talk. No interaction. No touching. No sex. No anything. No everything. No is always an appropriate answer without exception and with no explanation needed.

No means no. The challenge to men is to recognize the meaning of no … to understand the need for consent … and to honor no and consent.

We (speaking as a man) must guide our lives by the standard of no and consent. We must hold one another to the standard of no and consent. We must teach the standard of no and consent to our sons.

My heart does break. For Ruth George and her family and friends. For the University of Illinois at Chicago community. For all the women who are victims of similar horrors. For my friend (I have since learned that Ruth George was a student of my friend). For the harm rape culture and male entitlement does to us all.

We can do better. Let’s get to it.

Note: written in the heat of the moment in response to the killing of Ruth George by a cis hetero male, this reflection takes a binary point of view. A more nuanced reflection would recognize that this issue impacts people across every sexual orientation and gender identity.

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Filed under Current Events, Friends, Human Rights

25 November 2019

Treadmill. Stretching. Blink.
Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monáe, feat. Erykah Badu
No – Shakira
Control – Janet Jackson
Say Her Name – Bear Fox
Break the Chain – One Billion Rising
One Woman: A Song for UN Women – Various
Confident – Demi Lovato
You’ve Got to Run – Buffy Sainte-Marie & Tanya Tagaq
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
Red Dress – Amanda Rheaume, feat. Chantal Kreviazuk
Follow Your Arrow – Kacey Musgraves
Fight Like a Girl – Kalie Shorr
I Get Out – Lauryn Hill
We Are Rising – Taína Asili
My Revolution Lives in This Body – Rosario Dawson

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Filed under Current Events, Exercise, Human Rights, Music, New York, playlist, United Nations

Stop the execution of Rodney Reed

This is urgent. On November 20th, Texas is scheduled to execute Rodney Reed for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. Horrible crimes. Crimes that Rodney Reed most likely did not commit.

Mountains of evidence exonerates Rodney Reed. All of that evidence was kept from the all white jury that convicted him. Instead, the evidence implicates the victim’s fiancé – local police officer Jimmy Fennell – who has a history of violence against women, including being convicted for kidnapping and sexual assault soon after Rodney was wrongly sent to prison.

Governor Greg Abbott has stopped an execution before. He can again. A huge public uproar right now could force Abbott to free Rodney Reed and stop this execution. Sign the petition today!

Find other ways to help.

Gov. Abbott should stop this execution because a significant amount of evidence points to Rodney Reed’s innocence. Executions are irreversible. There can be no do-overs. The lack of absolute certainty (which exists in many cases) should give significant pause before the state carries out this or any execution.

Let’s suppose, just suppose that Rodney Reed committed these crimes. That seems highly unlikely, but let’s suppose. Sound reasons still exist for halting this and every execution:
Executing people to keep people from committing crimes has proven ineffectual.
Execution lowers us to the level of those who kill.
The violence of an execution feeds violence.
Thou shall not kill.

We are better than this.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Current Events, Death Penalty, Human Rights

17 October 2019

In honor of Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore, sharecropper’s son and a giant for justice. Assembled this morning, this playlist features songs about Baltimore, songs from artist with connections to Baltimore, and songs by Fannie Lou Hamer – a sharecropper’s daughter, a sharecropper, and a giant for justice. 

Walk. Morningside Gardens.
On Being a Sharecropper – Fannie Lou Hamer
Run Mourner, Run – Fannie Lou Hamer
Streets of Baltimore – Gram Parsons
Silver – Rik Ocasek
Raining in Baltimore – Counting Crows
You Think You’re a Man – Divine
Baltimore – Audra McDonald
Precious Lord – Fannie Lou Hamer
Baltimore – Nina Simone
This Little Light of Mine – Fannie Lou Hamer
Baltimore – Lyle Lovett
Road to Hell – André De Shields
Baltimore – Randy Newman
Baltimore Fire – Charlie Poole
Baltimore – Prince
I Know Where I’ve Been – Queen Latifah
Amazing Grace – Fannie Lou Hamer

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Exercise, Music, New York, playlist

Andy Henriquez – #CLOSErikers

IMG-0663We honor the memory of Andy Henriquez, 19 years old. He begged for medical attention in solitary confinement on Rikers Island. He died there due to neglect in 2013.

From time to time, I have had the honor to stand with the community working to close the jail complex on Rikers Island and replace the jails with smaller justice centers based in four of the New York City boroughs. People directly affected by the Rikers jails led this effort.

Today the New York City Council voted on a proposal. I joined the community for a rally in the time before the vote. Participants were invited to read brief statements honoring individuals who had died on Rikers.

I read the words about Andy Henriquez. He was arrested for participating in a heinous crime. He  was held for three years without a trial. He was held in solitary confinement. He complained of pain and called for medical attention as did others held near him.

He needed to be held accountable for his role in that crime. But that would have involved a speedy trial. And it would not have involved dying alone in a cell. Whatever he did, whatever he did not do, as a child of God, he deserved better. So did Mohamed Jollah for whose brutal murder Andy Henriquez was arrested. So do all people.

May today’s New York City Council vote mark steps on the journey to a criminal justice system that emphasizes restoration and rebuilding community.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights, New York, Presbytery of New York City