The question posed to our group that stuck with me is one which will be important to consistently revisit. During her remarks, Paulina Olvera, a young activist and community leader in Tijuana asked, “which walls within us or in our hearts perpetuate the physical walls being built in our communities?”
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Is there a better word? New clothes… new car… new house… new job… new day… Don’t those three little letters, N-E-W, sum up all human hopes?
The poor want a new way, a new hope. The affluent want a new challenge, a new adventure. The living want a new opportunity. The dying want a new reality.
It never ends. When we’re born, everything is new, and we die still seeking newness. Every age, every stage brings newness. Could we live without it?
After a few people asked why I was going to participate in the Women’s March on Charlotte, and why was it called a "March for Women" as opposed to a "March for All", I decided that I needed to respond. So I have taken portions of emails I wrote in response to those questions and turned them into this blog post. I am very well aware that everyone that marched will answer the question differently. I can only tell my story. -Amy
It all went dark.
My eyes instantly began burning and my throat felt like I swallowed a flame. I was able to open my eyes just long enough to see a hand reaching out for mine. Rachel, a young African American whom I befriended on my walk toward city center, had one hand covering her eyes and the other reaching out. I grabbed on tightly and assured her I was there.
Once again we have suffered a national tragedy that is as foolish as it is horrendous. Compounding the heartbreak is the fact that it may have been as preventable as it was predictable.
There’s a lot that could be learned from Orlando, however, we’ve shown we’re not interested in learning from these tragedies, though they are an embarrassment to any people who claim to be free.
Every Sunday, Hope Chapel provide coffee, warmth and shelter, a song and a preached word. The congregants don’t dress like we do at Park Road, and their eyes tell a completely different story.
I see despair and desperation in some of those eyes, abuse and neglect in others. Those eyes have seen things I’d rather not think about, and there is a haze of bone-weariness in many: weary of working and not making it, weary of not making it work. Weary of being looked down on, given up on, cast aside, left behind.
Our world seems aimed at perfection, beautiful people, beautiful things, more, bigger, better. A lot of what we strive for in life, hope for in our children, had eluded Albert. The intellect and the opportunity just weren’t in the hand he was dealt, but the unique presence Albert brought to our campus, the life he gave to this world would be misunderstood if we demeaned it as only “special.”
Why should we ever need to raise charitable funds to educate our children? To buy supplies and provide technology? Even to provide weekend snacks, if lack of nutrition is keeping a child from learning? We ought to want to educate our children, all of them.
It is the common good – even if we have to pay more in taxes to do it.
In a world of such maddening events, I am proud, honored and humbled that seven Buddhists from the other side of the world, and at least 150 neighbors, from across my own community, were comfortable to come to a Baptist church, sit for an hour, search the silence of their own souls and the strains of ancient, chanting rhythms, in search of peace.