Tag Archives: Cleveland

A smell I am thankful for


Coffee. Coffee anywhere.
This is Coffee Phix Cafe with the owner Jackie Larkins.
It is my favorite coffee shop and has been since my first visit.
Jackie has opened a new store in midtown Cleveland: Cafe Phix MidTown.

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

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Filed under Food, Friends, Photo

Purple flowers, guest collection #77

IMG_6512 (600x800)

photo by Sera Chung
25 October 2017
University Circle
Cleveland, Ohio

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Filed under Friends, Photo, Uncategorized

Time to change the Cleveland baseball mascot

It is time to change the mascots of a number of teams. Past time.

The Cleveland baseball team is one of them.

A recent story on Indian Country Today Media Network, based on a report in Deadspin, addresses this question:

A Cleveland Indians fan, painted in redface and donned in a faux Native American headdress, justified his brazen actions Friday afternoon by stating his attire was not racist – just “Cleveland Pride.”

The photo with the story says it all. Check it out.

Here are three responses to the Cleveland mascot.

From Indian Country Today Media Network:

A campaign to remove the image of Chief Wahoo, aptly titled “DeChiefing,” has gained momentum again as the 2014 season launched across the nation.

From Deadspin:

There is a lesson here, and that lesson is: For fuck’s sake, don’t do this.

From the National Congress of American Indians:

Change the Mascot.

Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry has a petition campaign to address the NFL about the Washington football team. Hopefully a similar campaign will address the Cleveland team.

It is time to change. Past time.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Baseball, Current Events, Football

Proud to Be – National Congress of American Indians

It is time to change the names and mascots of a number of teams. It is past time.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities, produced this video.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Baseball, Football

Tears remain

Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .

So they told him –
those who loved him,
who heard his first cries,
who held him at his birth,
those who would protect him
from a world in which children
die too soon
so often
that no tears remain to shed for them.
Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .
He heard their words
and learned them well.
When gunshots
tore the silence
of the street where he played,
he ran.
For cover he ran;
for safety he ran;
for his very life he ran.
Following the sidewalk;
cutting through the grass;
leaping up the steps, he ran –
his heart racing
faster than his feet.
Sprinting across the porch;
throwing open the door;
stumbling through the doorstep, he ran –
entering what should have been the safety
of his own home.
Filled with fear
and their words, he ran still –
his fingers touched the bannister
as he began to mount the stairs
that led to his room,
the wall beside him exploded –
a chunk of hot lead
ripping through vinyl siding,
spraying drywall,
violating his body,
tearing life from him.
Be careful.
Keep safe.
Don’t get into trouble.
If trouble comes looking for you . . .
So they told him –
those who loved him,
who heard his final gasps,
who held him as his lifeblood pooled around him
those who tried, but could not protect him
from a world in which children
die too soon
so often
yet still tears remain to shed for them. 

15 August 2001
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Filed under Cleveland Heights, Poem

The trip not taken, part 3

And now I have a boarding pass for tomorrow – Sunday 23 December.

An actual boarding pass.

I have never had one of those for this trip.

It’s a step.

See you along the Trail.


Filed under Travel

The trip not taken part 2

As I suspected yesterday, the piece of paper I was given at the airport did not prove helpful.

At the appointed hour, I attempted to obtain a boarding pass for the flight upon which the piece of paper proclaimed I had a seat.

I did not. My reservation did not show up in the system.

From calling the help desk, I learned that I would be called back in between 28 and 37 minutes.

The call actually came at reasonably close to the 37 minute mark.

But the agent told me that my ticket was cancelled. The frequent flyer miles had been returned to my account.

After several minutes of ranting, I said, “Let’s put aside what happened and why. How can you get me to Cleveland and when?”

No flights were available today. But I was told – and received an email to the effect – that I am on a flight tomorrow.

I prepared to go somewhere for dinner. Before I left, Ryan contacted me and we went and had coffee. Then DeLaina called and we went for dinner. A good evening followed a travel-challenged day.

Now I wait. At 10:50 tomorrow morning I will put this most recent information to the test and see if I can at least print a boarding pass.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, New York, Travel

Walking with Russell

We met once.

We did not speak.

But for a few moments, we walked together.

On April 4, 1994, the Cleveland baseball team opened a new stadium.

My friends and colleagues among the indigenous peoples and the antiracism activists of Cleveland have a simple message. People are people. Not mascots. The name and logo of the Cleveland baseball team need to go.

The Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance organized an educational event for the stadium opening. The event included a public witness/demonstration at the new stadium. I attended.

As the stadium opened, we gathered in its shadow. Words were said. Prayers prayed. And then we walked in silence around the stadium.

Russell Means attended the event as one of the speakers. He walked with us. And for a few moments, we walked side-by-side. We made eye contact. We smiled. But no words passed our lips.

Russell, who journeyed to the spirit world early this morning, was a big man. And I walk slowly. I did not keep up for long. But those few moments, I remember, for they were a gift, an honor.

Russell lived a life of courage – working tirelessly and faithfully for the well-being of his people – of all indigenous peoples – of all oppressed peoples – of us all.

I give thanks for his life, his work, and his witness. I give thanks that, for a few moments on one April day in Cleveland, we walked together. I give thanks for all who in any way carry on the struggle for human dignity.

The National Museum of the American Indian will present a symposium: Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports on Thursday, November 1, 2012, 10 AM – 5:45 PM in Washington, D.C. I will not be there, but the event will be Webcast. As my friend Molly suggests, watching – and then taking action – would be an appropriate way to honor Russell Means.

People are people. Not mascots.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Urgent action needed: Ask Governor Kasich to issue reprieve

From Ohioans to Stop Executions

Ohio plans to execute Abdul Awkal on June 6 for the 1992 murders of his estranged wife and her brother in Cleveland. There is no reasonable doubt about that. The larger question is always about the death penalty itself. The specific question in this case focuses on the mental competency of Mr. Awkal.

Here are recent developments: Governor Kasich denied clemency to Mr. Awkal on May 30 without explanation.

The governor’s decision came after the Ohio Parole Board issued a split recommendation against clemency.

I join Ohioans to Stop Executions in calling concerned individuals to contact Governor Kasich’s office by phone at 614-466-3555 or by e-mail and urge him to issue a reprieve so courts can determine if Mr. Awkal is competent for execution. Attorneys for Mr. Awkal will present new evidence that Mr. Awkal is incompetent to be executed.

Learn more about the case.

I vote in Ohio – long story – but I do – and only in Ohio.

I have contacted Governor Kasich telling him that I do not want the State of Ohio to kill in my name!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Current Events, Death Penalty

6 June execution date in Ohio

The State of Ohio is scheduled to execute Abdul Awkal on 6 June. Awkal was convicted in 1992 for the murders of his wife, Latife Awkal, and his brother-in-law, Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz. The murders took place inside the courthouse on Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland.

The Awkals were scheduled for a meeting on 7 January 1992 in the family conciliation services office of the Domestic Relations Court over custody of their 15-month old daughter. Latife Awkal had filed for divorce from her husband.

For some reason or reasons, the situation took a violent turn. Awkal shot and killed his sister and brother-in-law. He then tried to flee with his daughter before a sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded him.

There appears little doubt of Awkal’s guilt. There appears no doubt. Guilt is not the question. The question is responsibility. Awkal has a long, well-documented history of severe mental illness that predates to before the murders. One source describes his illness as “a severe depressive/delusional disorder that results in audio and visual hallucinations, delusions of grandiose and paranoid themes, and suicide attempts.” Does that matter? While different courts have taken different views of the impact of his mental illness and his mental competence at different times, I believe there exists a reasonable doubt as to his level of responsibility.

On Friday 18 May, the parole board in Ohio recommended to the governor that he not grant clemency to Awkal. One member dissented from the decision.

I grieve for Latife and Mahmoud. I grieve for a child who lost one parent to death and another to incarceration. The use of violence in a courthouse and before an effort at reconciliation disturbs me greatly. I give thanks for the actions of the law enforcement officer who may well have prevented a greater loss of life. Nothing justifies Awkal’s actions. Nothing minimizes their brutality. And yet …

What is gained by the execution of Abdul Awkal? It does not bring his wife and brother-in-law back. It does not make our society any safer than we would be if Awkal remained in prison for life. It would be an act of revenge – an act of violence – that further dehumanizes our society. Can we not do better?

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Human Rights