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Archive for November, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

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December 1, 2008 marks the 20th year of World AIDS Day commemoration. Although HIV/AIDS affects all communities – people of all races, ethnicities and genders, women of color are disproportionately affected. AIDS is now said to be the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34.

We have been too silent, too long. Too many – from all of our communities – are dying. Too many of us are losing loved ones. Too much money is being spent on warfare and foolishness. Too little time is spent on caring for each other.

World AIDS Day falls on December 1, on or near the first Sunday of Advent. For Christians, Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparation. It is a way of journeying toward the event of Christmas, the coming of the Messiah, of God Incarnate.

The following is an excerpt of a piece I wrote and delivered several years ago at a World AIDS Day service, during which participants remembered those who died by lighting candles and speaking their names.

In this, the season of advent, the season of waiting, we recognize that even as we listen to words of comfort and hope, we live in a season of despair.

On this day we remember those who left too early and too painfully
On this day we remember we live in the midst of too much warfare and too little health care
On this day we remember that in this season of giving, too many don’t have enough to even get by.

And yet the prophet speaks down through the ages:
Every valley shall be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
The uneven ground shall become level,
And the rough places a plain.

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

You are a testament to valleys being lifted up:
Every candle lit is a leveling
Every name remembered is a leveling
Every whispered prayer is a leveling
Every voice of protest is a leveling

We cannot be silent.

May we be like the voice of one crying out in the wilderness
“Prepare the way of the Lord”
Prepare the way of the One who gathers all in, who will not get distracted and leave someone behind

The One who not only sits
and eats
and loves
the downtrodden, the outcast, the forgotten,
But actually desires their company

As we wait this advent season for the “good word”
The one who has loved us into being
Waits with us

May we be comforted, strengthened and empowered
By the Holy One.

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Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”
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What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?

Is it because as Americans we have a deep need to believe that the soil we live on and the country on which it is based was founded on integrity and cooperation? This belief would help contradict any feelings of guilt that could haunt us when we look at our role in more recent history in dealing with other indigenous peoples in other countries. If we dare to give up the “myth” we may have to take responsibility for our actions both concerning indigenous peoples of this land as well as those brought to this land in violation of everything that makes us human. The realization of these truths untold might crumble the foundation of what many believe is a true democracy. As good people, can we be strong enough to learn the truths of our collective past? Can we learn from our mistakes? This would be our hope.

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Back in a few days.
In the meantime:

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via

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Beyonce is stalking me

… or somehow using her otherworldly powers to turn all eyes in the universe on her …. why else would four of my favorite blogs* feature Beyonce all on the same day? (Renee’s is the funniest.)

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

I am strangely compelled to post this. I both love it and I hate it.

If video doesn’t play (embedding disabled) click here… or on one of the sites above.

Nothing but love for this one, though:

ETA – here’s one more….

* That last one links to another blog featuring an older post – good stuff – on Beyonce…

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Check this out

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What if every one of us bought a book by a black author and gave it to a white friend? So I’m naming December National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month.

more here

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Best thing I’ve read today

God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule

Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: “Can’t you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism… every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you’re supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It’s not that hard a concept to grasp.”

“Why would you think I’d want anything else? Humans don’t need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you’ve been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!” God said. “The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?”

h/t Feministe

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List of names here.

Few will respect our lives as they were, and few will mourn them, and they must be mourned. Their lives were meaningful, their names and genders were real and important, and they lost their lives from hate.

Queen Emily on how to mourn:

Today we hold on to some memory, even if it only be a name and a photo, so that they are not as erased as completely as their killers would have.

Because the medical people treating them will have tried to erase them. The media. The police. The juries. Will try to excuse, to render less than real, the lives that have been lost. Because who would mourn? Who would bother?

This is not Pride. This is remembering our dead. This is not something you can make fucking upbeat and acceptable and call “awareness.”

Remember.

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