This Must Stop.

This is a photo of a Black Man.  The photo was taken and posted in response to yesterday’s decision in the Trayvon Martin murder case – the jury-based decision finding the man who killed the unarmed teen not-guilty. Look at this man. Depending on your life experience – your own ethnicity and gender, your experience with people who are similar to and different from you, the extent to which you are willing… Read More

The VRA and Racism “the country’s original sin”

What a week. With a 68-32  margin, the U.S. Senate passed immigration reform – a heartening step even in the face of the subsequent response by the usual suspects in the House of Representatives rolling their eyes and offering sound bites that essentially communicate (again…), “in your dreams.”  In what likely stands as a more inspiring demonstration (and interpretation) of democratic action, Texas Senator, Wendy Davis together with thousands of citizens of… Read More

Violence May Thwart Public Voice, but the Ideas Won’t Go Away

My sister in Gainesville, Florida is recently back from Turkey — Istanbul and a rural city where she and her daughter worked a while on an organic olive farm.  The olive work was only perfect for getting to know the culture of rural Turkey a bit, but it was also the only way for these two women to travel together.  The younger is a college student, the older (celebrating her 50th with… Read More

What are the Barriers to Social Justice?

On Friday I had the opportunity to speak briefly with a small group of friends and colleagues about social justice.  It was a time that qualifies for sure as a moment in the story of my life.  And the particular narrative of that time is transition – big transition – so big that I’m not yet prepared to write about it here.  Odd, since this is the place I write and write… Read More

Succession – We’re in Great Hands

This week’s blog is a montage.  My qualification to put these images together here with my ideas about what I’ve seen and experienced of the Student Alliance Project arises only from the generosity with which the young adults of this thriving community organization have informed and befriended me as an ally. Last night I attended a celebration.  There were hundreds of people in a room that barely held them, sitting at circular… Read More

Liberating Leadership with In-State Tuition for Children of Immigrants

  Note – Last week a young woman from the Student Alliance Project contacted me to request I write testimony in support of legislation to be proposed this week making available in-state tuition for young adults who live in Oregon and are children of immigrants.  This is what I wrote. My name is Mary Clare.  My ancestors of record came to this continent as early as the 1600’s.  They came from Europe… Read More

Today’s December 10

It’s the end of the day, and unlike most days between November and July the sky outside my window is vivid with sunset colors – you know those indescribable shades of pink and purple, hints of orange, red, yellow, even bits of green.  I’m in Portland, OR where I live and work – and walk and dance and chit chat with neighbors and laugh and cry with friends.  Today I’ve done all… Read More

Birdsong in Oregon and VOICES FROM DECATUR

Here we are in December – already.  Here we are nearing another turn of season; this time to winter.  I’ve been noticing how the calls of birds really do become less present as the days shorten and the weather cools. Maybe it’s an effect of spending the last four years listening to what everyday people have to say.  It’s for sure not boredom or lack of distraction.  But here’s what noticing the… Read More

Building it.

Of late a good deal of national opposition has arisen around the words “build it.”  Some months ago, our president made a point in a public (and arguably campaign) speech about the labor that supports most, if not all of the social activity in this country, including business.  Some folks heard his comments as indicating they shouldn’t get credit for their work.  The media and campaign publicity machines got hold of the… Read More

Four Blackberries Freshly Picked

This morning’s air was filled with water – the marine air that sometimes makes summer visits to Portland from the Oregon coast.  I was up early to meet up with friends and underestimated what turned out to be enough moisture to soak almost through my rain coat over the course of my walk. Time with the people I had ventured out to meet was cozy and kind – like brown sugar on… Read More