Reflection: These are Not Normal Times, Nevertheless they Persisted

John_Forney.jpg“There are so many dangerous, destabilizing policies coming out of this administration that I had to buy a reusable protest sign,” read the message of one marcher.  We now have the “Chaos President” in full bloom, and we’re only four weeks into his term.

Across the country, immigration and border agents are defying court orders.  Our airports are clogged with hundreds and thousands of protesters.  Democratic office holders are scrambling to catch up with their followers.  This is certainly a season that is giving birth to a whole new generation of political leadership on the left.  To the political elites, as my wife is want to say, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.”

My message to you is make your voices heard.  It may be in the Daily Bulletin, at the Ontario Airport, or in conversations at the checkout stand:  speak up, speak out, speak loud.  This, my friends, is not a season of normality, and we should do nothing to pretend that it is.  This man in the White House has lost any shred of legitimacy his presidency might have had, and we should not abet those who would paper over this national disaster.

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Reflection: I'm 25, Scared for Our Future

sanchez.jpgBefore I start I ask you all to think back to when you were 25.

Think about how you looked like, how you smelled... the last person you kissed, the last person who broke your heart, who you called your friends, and what was important to you.]

I am turning 25 on Jan. 5, 2017.

As I look ahead to this particular milestone with anxiety and uncertainty, I reflect on my post-graduation experience with critical distance as I prepare to step into 2017.

I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a Liberal Arts degree (a concentration in screenwriting), $45k in debt and apolitical -- two years ago.

As the daughter of Salvadoran (Im)migrants/activists and youngest sibling to a vibrant family I learned and absorbed the morsels history and lived experiences that created my family's identity through storytelling.

I aspired to have a career in the film industry as an entertainment writer, focusing on centering the narrative of the Latinx experience in the United States through ensemble comedies. I thought that it was my duty to provide folks with escapist media for them to indulge in. I thought it was my duty to make folks laugh, to help folks forget the heaviness and hurt of their own lives, if even momentarily.

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Struggle for Equality, Justice and Peace Continues

rtx2snyh.jpgToday (Wednesday, Nov. 9), we are shocked, disappointed, and deeply worried about our future. But we cannot give in to all that. All kidding aside, we're not moving to Canada. We are staying right here so we can continue the struggle for equality, justice and peace, in the spirit of hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope." A man who knows a lot about the struggle for political freedom and social justice, Vaclav Havel, had two very important things to say about Hope.

He wrote: "Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good."

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Reflection: My Best Friend

PS_y_CFL_1.jpgI am going to reflect this morning on 29-and-a-half years of friendship. I remember. It was a moment of joyous laughter at something that had just happened, and Paula exclaimed, “I love my life!” This was among the reasons I first started introducing her around as my best friend.

But let me go back to how we met for our first times – all three of those first times. A crowd of us strangers were walking back from MacArthur Park to our cars after a march and rally when a woman among us told us that she was a stripper. After taking delight in our reaction, she explained that she worked in a print shop, where her job was to cut sheets of colored film with an X-ACTO knife, a process called “stripping.” But when Paula told another group of us that same story years later, it was Zing! I realized I had met this woman before, walking back from the park that day.

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Reflection: This Exponential Age

image001.jpgWe live in interesting times.

I was curious to recently discover that this period in which we are now living is no longer described as the Information Age, or the Technological Age, but rather the Exponential Age. Everything, it seems, is going exponential; and one can well wonder how the world will hold together, if it even will hold together; or if it will literally spiral out of control under the weight of its own unprecedented rate of change in literally all aspects of our culture and civilization.

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Every Day Is a New Day

Wednesday

la-he-elders2_jp5d08nc.jpgI’ve never been 89 before,
I’ve never been in a long physical recuperation before.
I’ve never been so self- involved.
Who do I really want to be with?
What do I really want to contribute to.
I can’t fill a bucket list.
Do I really believe in all those medicines I’m supposed to take?
Is it OK that I’m not always grateful and
just want to cvetch.
I hate myself for sitting too long at this computer
I’m killing my back -so what?
I ‘ll eat a boring dinner.
Listen to all the bad news
And go to bed. 

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Teaching for Justice

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People always want to know why I chose to teach in Compton and Watts. The short answer is that I volunteered full-time with the United Farm Workers, and after a year trying to organize conservative Torrance, I was sent to organize for a couple weeks in Compton - and loved it.

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How Can We Make the Madness STOP!

At least 84 people, including 2 Americans, were killed in a suspected terror attack on France as the country celebrated Bastille Day. A lorry loaded with weapons and hand grenades drove on to a pavement in Nice more than a mile before police shot dead the driver. The killer was a 31-year-old French citizen born in Tunisia. He was said to be known to police but not on a terror watch list. This is just another attack in what has been a shocking month of attacks, terrorism, shootings, awfulness,

Yesterday, I took part in a satire interview pinning Muslims against the LGBTQ community, and one of the questions asked of me is "What can we do to stop this madness?"

I gave my canned response of partnership and getting to know one another, but a part me can’t help thinking – I really don’t know!

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My God, My God

Why-Did-Jesus-Say-On-The-Cross-That-God-Had-Forsaken-Him.jpg“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

This has to be one of the most shocking and disconcerting utterances in all of Christian scripture. And coming from the mouth of Jesus, this cry of dereliction has the power to shake one’s faith to the very core.

In ways big and small, yes, we’ve known abandonment.  

I remember the day I received that fateful notice in the mail which began, “Greetings.”  Within what seemed only a few days, I was at the U.S. Army reception station at Ft. Polk, LA.

It hadn’t been more than a several months before  that I had begun seeing this wonderful Occidental College coed. Thoughts of her had begun to fill my waking moments and occupy my dreams at night. And now, I wasn’t sure I would ever see her again.

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ICUJP Condemns Inflammatory Threats Against Muslims from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz

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In the wake of the tragic deaths and injuries in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz callously poured fuel on the fires of hatred and bigotry by issuing inflammatory attacks on Muslims.

Asked about the attacks in Belgium, Trump announced that "We're having problems with the Muslims." He added: "You need surveillance, you have to deal with the mosques whether you like it or not." Meanwhile, Cruz said "[w]e need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized."

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