Opening our Hearts... Awakening to Other

As many of you reading this probably feel saddened, sickened and outraged when we turn on the news to yet another tragic and senseless slaughter of black lives, we can only hope not to become numbed and completely apathetic. While it is absolutely maddening from Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubois, and the daily litany of abuses, I try to keep reminding myself to "stay awake” and to stay engaged in whatever ways I can.

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SOME PEOPLE IN THE USA and THE UMC ARE STILL AFRAID OF BLACKS and GAYS

I long ago ceased engaging in debate about the differences between the discrimination/oppression of blacks and gay. There is no equivalence! I have written these words to call for a new and/or renewed coalition of Blacks and Gays and our ally/advocates as we confront the "isms" that empower some at the expense of others. The economic, educational, healthcare, business ownership, residential and other inequities that divide us, call for activist coalitions.

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Gil - Part I Inside of Hate

I had thought as a now 80 year old, that in 2014 whatever it was that drove some white people to do what they did to those of us who were black, was a thing of the past and I would no longer have to spend time wondering about what it would be like to spend some time in the body, mind and spirit of a person who was anti-black. But, I have discovered that in this time that is NOT post racial or racist, I must continue to "IMAGINE" (Not the song of John Lennon) what causes some persons to hate blacks.

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Marilyn Bennett, Gil Caldwell, Truth in Progress, and THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

But, it was Marilyn and her persistence about our going to Selma that caused me to make Martin Luther King's words; "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere", become almost a mantra for me as I have sought, through Truth in Progress, to explore the relationship between racism and heterosexism. In this time when the Supreme Court issued rulings favoring marriage equality for same sex couples while at the same time, limiting affirmative action and voter rights for black people and others, it is important for Gay persons and the Gay rights movement, at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and beyond, to identify as never before, with the ongoing quest and struggle for racial justice.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO CHICAGO

One of the living expressions of the similarities between the killing of gay and black men is the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. James Byrd was the black man in Texas who was tied to the back of a truck and was dragged to his death. I never suggest equivalence between black suffering and gay suffering, but there is something about the hatred that blackness and/or gayness evokes in some persons that must not go unnoticed.

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Chicago Tour Begins!

How can all communities have genuine conversation about racial realities in the United States of America in 2013? What can we learn from those living at the intersection of multiple "identities?" Come join us not to take ourselves seriously but to seriously consider how together we can create a better world for everyone!

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Bishop Gene Robinson: "Race is still the Festering Sore in American Society"

"I was writing today about a question posed in the Washington Post which was, 'How come no one is talking about the fact that all of the perpetrators of these mass killings are white? Does anybody think that if they'd all been African American, we wouldn't be talking about race? So why aren't we talking about race?'"

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An "INCIDENT" in New York City

Gil has been harassed and doubted by white police officers because of the color of his skin. I have not. As a black man he has been turned away and denied over many years–whether a taxi, seminary, lunch counter, or honeymoon hotel. I have not. Recounting this incident, I didn’t think about the driver judging the color of Gil’s skin, I wondered what motivated the police officer to jump to Gil’s defense.

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Civil rights attorney Arlene Groch: Why talk about race

While we were in Asbury Park, NJ we had the pleasure of interviewing Arlene Groch, who drove up from Atlantic City to be with us. She was a civil rights attorney for over 30 years and has been a part of a group of African American and Caucasian women for 16 years. The group is called Sisters Together Against Racism. All of us who are committed to co-creating real, open, and genuine cross-cultural alliances have a lot to learn from the Sisters.

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Expanding: Lee Schubert, Ocean Grove, and Reinhold Niebuhr

For reasons I cannot completely explain, as Lee and I talked in Ocean Grove, the song "Nature Boy" came to mind. There was an emotional moment in my life when I said I wanted the song sung at my funeral. The song says, "we talked of many things," and then as I remember it ends with these words, "The greatest thing, you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."

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TIP Exclusive: Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Trayvon slaying

May this tragic act help the US to be true to the ideals of the founding persons of your great nation. May you all realise that you really are all members of one family, God's family, the human family: black, white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, lesbian, transsexual, gay, bisexual, and so-called straight all belong together in the bundle of life.

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