Thursday, November 17, 2016

8th Day's Statement on the 2016 Election

A letter from the 8th Center for Justice. A hopeful message in these trying times:

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” St. Augustine.
8th Day Center for Justice would like to thank its many partners who have written inspiring, grounded, and passionate words in the aftermath of last week’s elections.We honor and echo calls for action and witness and offer our deepest thanks to the many that continuously organize, struggle, and build. Daily we are blessed with the brave and clarion actions for change which so many communities and individuals engage year round.
On Tuesday November 8th many Americans, in particular white Americans, elected a man who explicitly proclaims values of dominance and white supremacy. There are many reasons why people may have voted for Donald Trump: exclusion by establishment politicians, concerns over the economic future of the country, concerns over the Supreme Court, etc. However, whatever drew a voter to Trump cannot be separated from also voting for an explicitly racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and misogynistic candidate and his policies.
In light of this moment 8th Day Center for Justice commits:We commit to memory. We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Some of the legacy of our ancestry holds the roots of the ruptures that require mourning and repair. Some of the legacy of our ancestry holds the roots of the creative resistance and courage that inspires and teaches. May we express complexity in the stories we tell, the lives we uphold, and the lessons we draw as we bridge old and new wounds and wisdoms.
We commit to responsive responsibility. We cannot create change on our own. We need to listen across boundaries and divisions so that our actions are responsible to our values and responsive to the needs of those most impacted. May we choose humility as a path toward understanding and authentic presence.
We commit to transformation. There is no place of compromise for racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia or misogyny.  We commit to seeking actions and partnerships that transform oppression. May we not dread challenging thresholds but seek them in the good faith that they are where we are meant to be.
We commit to love. We choose the generous and resilient extravagance of love over fear in the daily labor of protecting and constructing inclusive communities. May we be known by our love, may we be known by our actions, may our love and actions never be separate.
We commit to hope. We choose the bounty of hope to nourish our imagination which may struggle beneath the weight of what we face. May we create spaces for vision, ingenuity and collaboration toward another world.
8th Center for Justice 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stop the Madness!

Today I ripped out fifteen pages of ads for medication and/or drugs from the latest issue of Family Circle magazine! This is a practice that I've become quite used to doing every time I open a magazine--any magazine. I ask you, since when is it OK for somebody without the appropriate professional training and expertise to determine the type of medication needed for a specific illness or condition? Why are drug companies allowed to unabatedly push their products to the general populace who is generally ignorant in these matters? I believe the law should prohibit this practice, particularly since these ads are being shown indiscriminately in publications, television and other public media to people who are likely to become impressed by the promises of well-being and health (but who are not likely to read the fine print and to realize how dangerous a drug can be if not taken properly, or in combination with other medications). After the constant onslaught of these TV and magazine commercials, I've become so disgusted and frustrated, that I'm appealing to you, the decision-makers, to stop this madness. Let the drug companies publish their intrusive ads in publications suited for medical professionals, and not the regular housewife, teenager, grandparent, teacher, etc. who may be beset by some type of medical condition, but who has no business self-medicating (or demanding of their healthcare provider a prescription for such).
If you agree with the above, I invite you to sign my petition here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Why I Support Bernie Sanders

From his campaign launch email, April 30, 1915:

"… Let's be clear. This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It's about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: "Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.
I run not to oppose any man or woman, but to propose new and far-reaching policies to deal with the crises of our times. And I run because I know we must change course now, or risk losing the future for so many to the interests of so few.
A successful national campaign is a massive undertaking, especially when we will be heavily outspent. It will require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community in our country. In fact, it will require nothing less than a political revolution which combats the demoralization and alienation of so many of our people from the political process.
Let me be very honest. It may be too late to stop the billionaire class from trying to buy the Presidency and Congress. The forces of greed already may be too powerful.
But we owe it to our children and grandchildren to try. We owe it to them to make the fight and, through the power of our numbers, turn back this assault on the foundation of our democracy and our future.
We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and we need a mass movement of people to fight for change.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Half a Piece of Bread and a Book

ImageFederico Garcia Lorca to the citizens of Fuente Vaqueros (Granada, Spain), September 1931. Transcript and translation:
"When somebody goes to the theater, attends a concert, or goes to a party, if the party is pleasing to him, he immediately thinks of and regrets that the people whom he loves are not present. 'My sister, my father, would really enjoy this,' he may think, and he enjoys the event albeit through a veil of melancholy. This is the melancholy that I feel today, not for my family, which would be small and selfish on my part, but for all those who, due to lack of resources lack the means to enjoy life's beauty, serenity and passion. 
"That is why I do not own any books, because I give them away as soon as I buy them, because they are infinite. And that is why I am here, honored and happy to inaugurate this library, probably the first one in the entire province of Granada. 
"Man does not live on bread alone. If I were hungry and homeless, I wouldn't ask for bread; I would ask for half a piece of bread and a book. I don't criticize those who only speak of economic recovery without ever mentioning cultural development, which is what people really cry for. It is fine for people to eat, but let the people have knowledge. Let them enjoy all the fruits of the human spirit, because the contrary is to transform them into machines at the service of the state, to convert them into slaves of a terrible social organization. 
"I feel more sorry for a man who desires knowledge but cannot have it, than for a man who is just hungry. Because a hungry man can easily satisfy his hunger with a piece of bread or some fruit, but a man who yearns for knowledge but has no means to acquire it, suffers a terrible agony, because it is books, books, and many books that which he really needs. And, where are those books? 
"Books! Books! A magic word that translates into "love, love," and that citizens should demand as earnestly as they demand for food or wish for rain for their crops. When the illustrious Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, father of the Russian revolution more so than Lenin, was being held prisoner in Siberia, away from the rest of the world, between four walls, and surrounded by steppes of infinite snow, asked for help in letters to his far-away family, he only said, 'Send me books, books, many books so my soul doesn't die!' He was cold and didn't ask for a fire, was thirsty and did not ask for water; he asked for books, in other words, for horizons, ladders to climb to the summit of the spirit and the heart. Because the physical or biological agony of the body when it is hungry, thirsty or cold doesn't last very long, but the agony of a hungry mind lasts forever. 
"The great Menendez Pidal, one of the truest intellectuals of Europe, has said that the motto of the Republic should be: 'Culture.' Culture because only through culture can the problems that today plague country that is full of faith but lacks in enlightenment can be resolved."