Under the Hoodie

No, Geraldo.  It’s not the clothing. It’s about looking under the hoodie. mc By now, most Americans are aware of the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old young man who was visiting his father’s home in a gated community of Sanford, Florida.  Trayvon lost his life to a single gunshot fired by a man who lived in the same community.  At the time the fatal shot fired, it was dark.  Trayvon, who… Read More

Civil Rights Remembered in Wisconsin

A year ago, I spoke with Susan Stout (Voice 075), a PhD forester with primary oversight of significant research in the forests of the Allegheny of western Pennsylvania.  Then, yesterday I marched with a small group of people who gathered in the small downtown area of Whitewater, WI.  These things fit together. Almost 9000 miles down the road, I’m taking a break to visit here in Whitewater for the month.  This is… Read More

March 4th has it all over Super Tuesday

I drove into Cincinnati from Manhattan.  How many times will I be able to say that?  Not many. And it was no minor feat.  I’m guessing this is not the least bit surprising to any of you.  Still, we say these things out loud to one another – partly as a request for validation – a “wow” that fits with the relative enormity of the accomplishment.  The vast majority of Americans don’t… Read More

Man Up – Dedication to Community before Distraction

“In a world dedicated to distraction, silence and stillness terrify us.” A friend in North Dakota just sent this to me.  His name is Anthony.  He’s a black man, a gay man.  He’s a playful prophet who lingers profoundly on the living side of dead serious.  Today, his quote came from a man named Sogyal Rimpoche. The trouble with distraction seems vast.  The people I’ve been spending time with here in the… Read More

Marsha and Nancy — How We Occupy Change

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the idea of having guest bloggers write to the original three questions of EX:Change and the 100 Voices. (EX:C blog, “These Questions Belong to You Now,” 10-22-2011) When you say the word change what do you mean? Alongside change, what is important to have remain the same? What would be concrete signs that positive change was occurring? Then I got email from Marsha Cuyjet – voice #48…. Read More

Office of Blame Accountability

Love is encouragement. Kindness is not weakness. Freedom is scary because, if I am truly free, I can’t blame anyone.  These three statements came as small gifts over coffee and tea this morning with my friend Jim.  You may recognize him from earlier blogs.  Sayings like these are as natural, even essential to Jim as heartbeats. This morning we were talking about being people in relationships – love partnerships, friendships, kinships, acquaintanceships… Read More

Listening to the Military

It’s Labor Day.  Over the course of our country’s history, one place many people have found work has been in the military. I’m not a military person.  I know a few veterans and I like them but outside movies, newscasts and the anti-war protests I’ve been a part of over the years, I know almost nothing about military service. I hadn’t counted until now, but turns out six of the people who… Read More

Mr. Prude – II

“I heard from the Idol people.  I’m goin’ to LA in October!”  Mr. Prude was at the bus stop Tuesday morning.  “I went right to the Western Union office and sent my mom a telegraph.  Next thing I know my phone was ringing and she was saying, ‘I knew you could do it!’” So this is how the story of Mr. Prude was unfolding for me.  Here was a man I took… Read More

Working for a Living during Black History Month in Wisconsin

In January of 2009, Nick Minnis sat in a coffee shop watching the street scene on the corner of 28th and E. Burnside in Portland, OR.  We got into a conversation about change.  Nick said, “I’m not a politician.  My world is small.  I work, I provide, and I sleep…very little.”  He laughed.  I don’t know whether Nick is in a union.  I do know he is a working man, a laborer…. Read More

Seeing Privilege

It’s going to take a while.  I don’t want to speak for blacks, but from my perspective being a black man with what I have observed in my lifetime, I will feel as though I’m going to be shortchanged because of the history behind us.  I will feel that until I see some definite improvement.  If  they tell you that you can be equal, but you never make any gains, you’re going… Read More