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Showing posts from May, 2020

What Happened to the Dream?

From our Community Healing Talking Circle on May 23, when folks were answering the question about what we’d learned from our grandmothers about racism, one shared about having found among an ancestor’s few belongings - in a chest after he had died - a carefully-folded white robe of a KKK member. This was to everyone’s surprise; no one had talked about it.  Why , wondered the white man who shared his story;  had it been peer pressure from his co-workers? Surely, he didn’t believe in what the KKK was doing. He seemed to have been a good man.  Later in the circle, a Latina said her grandmother frequently had told her to be careful. She had worked with her family in the fields in Texas and one day the owner told them, “Quick, go hide in the fields.” Men were coming in white sheets to round up migrant workers to kill them. (Thanks to the two who told these stories for allowing me to share them with you.)   These are narratives that white people and people of color share in a talking circle,

The Power of Story

Yessterday by Zoom we held our 2 nd  Community Healing Talking Circle.  Some had been to the one in January; others were new to talking circles.  All had an opportunity to speak.  There was a mix of racial, ethnic and national identities.  The first question answered after each introduced themselves was,  What did you learn from your grandmother?  That opened up a broad range of stories.    We also shared stories about how racism affects each of us personally, and how it affects  the community. In three hours, we ran out of time before getting to the last question, but it became a homework assignment: What will you tell your grandchildren that you did to end racism?   It was good, very good. Listening, learning and sharing from each other created community that resulted in communion. We demonstrated the power of story, something Jesus knew 2,000 years ago.   Following the talking circle, I checked my mail. My June issue of  Sun Magazine had arrived. The  feature article is entitled,  T

Addressing Racism

In the last year, have you been in line at a store waiting for customer service and the person obviously having arrived after you got helped first?  I am guessing if your answer is yes, more likely than not, you have brown skin, not just from a summer tan, and the person served before you was white. In Riverton, Wyoming that seems to happen often to Native Americans and not just at one store.  I have heard that from several friends of mine including just a couple of days ago.  Even after the other customer was helped first, he still disregarded her and an argument ensued, as if she didn’t have a right to be a customer and that he had no obligation to wait on her.  Or as if her dollar was not worth what a dollar from a white customer is worth. Now if you are white and you never observed how badly Native Americans are treated here, you might not know about it.  But if you are white and have observed it and did nothing, then you are a part of the problem.  She said that when the argument

Color Matters

Also: May 23 – Community Healing Talking Circle by Zoom. Register at  www.rivertonpeacemission.org . June 1 - QuadW Missional Internship begins. In follow up to last week about the Justice Pod and responses as to why people are uncomfortable talking about racism, I share how another person responded: “ You have to see (others) as individuals and not as a nationality. That’s how I see racism and how I have avoided it.” A comment she wrote later on a post about the arrests of those who murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, “This is how racism is perpetuated. I think if the headlines were ‘Man killed by father and son’ the sensationalism is gone. Sometimes I think that people calling out racism are more of a hindrance than a help. It seems it only fans the flames of racism and never puts out the flame.” Sorry Facebook friend, but ignoring racism will not make it go away. The arrests never would have happened if not for the outpouring of protest about a murder motivated by racism.  The delaye

A Justice Pod

The Wind River Mutual Aid network has evolved into several pods on food, hygiene products, funds development, media, gardening (Grow Our Own) and the latest, a pod to focus on justice.  The justice pod had our first meeting this past week to brainstorm  what we thought the justice pod should do.  The idea of a Justice Pod emerged from concerns about a demonstration two weekends ago in front of the Riverton City Hall and Police Department with Confederate flags and a posting on Facebook by a local Native American who had been subjected to harassment and became fearful for the family’s safety.  It has not received news coverage and authorities label it as only a few teenagers and harmless. But this should not be dismissed so easily although the action may not have been technically illegal. The fact that it happened illustrates the depth of racism here. The Riverton Peace Mission had cancelled its second Healing Talking Circle at the end of March because of the COVID-19. But since o