From the Ministers

August – From the Minister

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

I’ve been watching the images from Pluto this month, and thinking about distance and proximity, the spaces between planets, and coherence. What holds things in their orbits? What makes a group of planets (and their sun and moons, and moods, their quirks and quarks) a solar system, not just a random bunch of big orbs in the sky?

What holds us in our orbits, binding us across our differences, our strangeness, loneliness, distractions, into a community, a congregation, and not just a random bunch of people passing through?

We’re held by covenant: the promises we make to one another, but mostly to ourselves, about the kind of people that we mean to be, the kinds of persons, one by one, within intentional community. We’re bound, by choice, to the history of our congregation, and to the liberal religious experiment within which it dwells, and we are bound to its future, mindful that we shape it with our own hands as we go.

We’re held as well by more practical connections, and summer is the time when staff and lay leaders plan and ponder all the tangible links that help us to cohere: the newsletter and weekly email blasts, social media and sermon podcasts, bulletin boards and tables in the social hall, even posters on the wall. How can we connect 1000 children, youth, young adults and elders, and everyone in between, to one another and to our larger purpose? How can we stay clear and focused, sharing enough information, but not so much that the news from church just adds to the streaming cacophony of everybody’s over-crowded inbox?

Beginning in September, our monthly newsletter will take new form: it will be shorter, with deeper and more thoughtful articles linked to our monthly Sunday themes; there will be more pictures, and more live links to information on our website. The weekly insert in the Order of Service (currently, “The Purple Pages”) will expand and be more organized, full of current news. These publications will be available both online and in print. A new online monthly journal called Show Your Soul will feature the writing and artwork of this congregation’s wondrously creative members and friends, and it, too, will follow the cycle of monthly themes around the year. (I hope you’ll contribute! Click here to learn more.)

How can we connect more meaningfully, making space in busy lives to deepen friendships, be of service, and to grow our souls? What does it mean to be a member of a church community, one small planet in relation to the others?

This year Wednesday nights will shift their shape to make the mid-week dinner more inviting to families with young children, to people coming straight from work, and elders, and the rest of us. We’ll be eating in the Atrium, a more spacious, gracious, light-filled space, surrounded by gallery art, and every Wednesday after dinner there will be a 50-minute forum in the Social Hall, led by members or ministers on a variety of topics, with concurrent programs for children. The Choir will still practice, and committees will meet from 7:30 – 9:00. You’ll see this schedule printed soon. To me it feels more deliberate, more exciting, more accessible, and ultimately simpler—a welcome island just where we need it, in the middle of our week.

Like stars and planets, we are held together by relationships. Gravity keeps our feet on the floor, but we’re connected also by bonds of grace and deep intention. You’ll hear more soon about communications and fall programs, ways to connect with one another, with generous service, and with your heart’s own longing for the sacred. For now, may your summer days be filled with light.

With gratitude,
Victoria

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July – From the Minister

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

July – From the Minister

An Invitation to Beloved Conversations

In June, I bought these buttons as a gift for our congregation.  In two weeks, we distributed over 500 buttons, and I have just ordered more.   I invite you to take one, and to wear it over the summer, as often as you will, as often as you can.

Pay attention to the conversations that open up around your button. Watch not only other people, but your own interior reactions.

Takes notes and write to me this summer.   [ vsafford@wbuuc.org   651.587.8481 ]

Tell me how it’s going.

If you wear your button, tell me what that feels like.   If you don’t wear it, tell me why.

In the fall I’ll gather your responses and on a Sunday in September (without quoting you by name) we’ll hear how this is going, this small attempt to shift the conversation about racism, violence and fear.

From Ferguson to Baltimore, Staten Island to Selma, Madison to Minneapolis, from Cleveland to Charleston to the very heart of your own town, we have got to shift the conversation.  We have got to start the crucial, painful, holy conversations about white privilege, policy, prisons, the economy,  one by one, with neighbors, workers, strangers, family, friends  – and then walk our talk, in faith, with hope and courage.

As I write, our hearts have been broken and our spirits shaken by the killing of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina – an act of terrorism born of cowardice, ignorance and centuries of systemic, culturally-acceptable racism,  fueled by a national gun culture that is irrational, immoral and recklessly out of control.  Wearing a button is the least of the responses we are called to now, as people of faith, a people of courage and radical hope.

May our broken hearts be strengthened for the work ahead.   As ever, I am grateful to be walking with you on this journey.        - Victoria

 

A Prayer for the People of Charleston and All People

Spirit of life and love,

A church is a harbor of refuge, a shelter and a sanctuary.
It is a place where people speak to God, silently, aloud.
It is where, trembling, they listen.

A church is a house of hope and history,
consecrated by the people’s faith:
lift up joy and thankfulness
lay down weariness and sorrow
.

Babies are welcomed.
Couples are blessed.
The beloved dead are sanctified and
in the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we will remember them
.

We wake to devastation, desecration.

Wild with grief and holy rage,
we pray for courage now, and renewed strength
to preach this morning’s gospel truth:
black lives matter.

In the rising of the sun, and in its going down,
may we remember what we know for sure -
in spite of, and precisely because of,
the awful evidence of other tragic truths.

AMEN

June – From the Minister

Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

The Annual Meeting of White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church
SUNDAY JUNE 7, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.

The meeting convenes in the Sanctuary immediately following the 9:00 a.m. service. Hear the highlights of the year reported by President Nancy Ver Steegh and Victoria Safford; honor the commitment of dedicated lay leaders with your presence and the power of your vote as they stand for elected office; own the vision and mission of our congregation by affirming the budget and the program it empowers for the coming year. All are welcome and encouraged to take part in the Annual Meeting.

If you are a member of our church, please make every effort to attend and establish the required quorum! With 761 members, we will need 153 just to open the Meeting.

Annual Congregational Meeting Agenda
Sunday, June 7, 2015 10:15 a.m.

  1. Lighting of the chalice
  2. Call to Order and recognition of parliamentarian
  3. Approval of minutes of June 8, 2014 Annual Meeting
  4. Recognition of new members
  5. Report of the President
  6. Report of the Minister
  7. Recognition of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Pledge Chairs Carla Scholz, Chris Nelson, Jeff Nelson
  8. Report of the Treasurer
  9. Presentation and approval of 2015-2016 operating budget
  10. Election of new Board officers and directors
    • President Steve Kahn
    • Vice President Laurie Kigner
    • Secretary Dana Boyle
    • At-Large Susan Miles
    • Youth Representative
    • Rebecca Edwards

Election of new Nominations and Leadership Development Committee members: Annie Vail and Jason Sem

11. Green Sanctuary vote
12. Finding Home Task Force report
13. Hallam Avenue purchase vote
14. New Business
15. Adjournment
16. Closing words

May – From the Minister

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

Save the Date!

The Annual Meeting is a throw-back, a remnant of a simpler time when it was still possible to imagine governing a congregation—or any other complex institution—in person, voting with a literal show of literal hands, discussing and debating and applauding what deeply matters in a community face-to-face and heart-to-heart, when showing up was a sign not only of one’s own agency and self-interest, but a real sign, too, of caring for the institution and the people in it, a sign of caring and respect. In New England, many towns still are governed in this way: the citizens who live in a place and love it show up in person, once a year, to demonstrate that love. They call it “turning out to vote, ” but you can see the love. They elect a city government, allocate a budget, wrangle over public schools and potholes—but by the very act of showing up, they show faith in one another, concern for one another and the “common wealth, ” and deep love for democracy, the great experiment which relies first and always on engagement—everybody at the table.

Built on this same democratic model, Unitarian Universalist congregations are governed by congregational polity: the congregation rules, the members holding in their hands all authority to raise and spend money; elect leaders; ordain, call, and dismiss ministers; and discern their own direction, to determine who they are and who they’re called to be.

It is a beautiful, humble, and humbling process, and it can only work if you show up. It’s not for lack of innovation or imagination that the congregation governs in this retro way, convening once a year not virtually and not online, but in person in the sanctuary: it is sacred work you do, an honor and a privilege. To offer to each other your most precious gift, the gift of time (real time) and presence, is a sign of deep respect, and even reverence.

Please come. If you have signed your name in the membership book, you need to come to make the needed quorum. You need to come and vote. Don’t assume that someone else will be there in your place—please come and own your church. If you are a friend or guest, please come. We need your voice, too, and your presence and support; you are part of this community. You show up all the time: for Sunday services, for choir practice, for teaching in RE and cooking in the kitchen. You show up for Sharing Circles, for funerals and weddings, for demonstrations at the Capitol and quiet prayers when someone’s sick or needing help. It is such a retro throwback, to place your very body in the very moment— but that’s what church is all about. Once a year, at the Annual Meeting, the members of White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church show their love, their dedication, their mutual respect and care by showing up to ratify a budget and elect leaders for the year ahead. Please come. I’ll see you there!

April – From the Minister

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

“I look at all of you and I see people committed to small work, which is great work, striving to be human and to
dignify the title, giving in over and over to what one long-ago Unitarian clergyman called ‘the temptation to be
good,’ the temptation to be hopeful, even in hard times, even on rough days, even though you’ve read the paper
and you know the score, you’ve received the diagnosis, or watched the footage from the rubble of the latest
bombing or the shooting or the storm – still you yield to the temptation to love this life and shine your light. ‘I see
beauty,’ says a person who is very ill, and you know that that’s a choice, that is a moral, religious decision, and it is
not easy, to adjust your eyes in the scary dark like that and choose to see the light. I hear the stories of the faithful
lives you lead out there and I am overwhelmed with admiration. It breaks my heart. It saves my life.”
– from the sermon on March 1, 2015

To each of you who made a pledge this year to support the vision of our congregation, its services and programs,
its work in the world, the building, the staff, the heat and the plumbing, the music, the ministry to children and
youth—thank you for your generous participation.

To each of you who returned a pledge card, in person or on line, whether you could give this year or not – thank
you for your presence, and your trust.

To everyone—we are very close to our goal of 100% participation. It is not too late for you to make a pledge!
Please do. We’re all in this together, holding up our corner of the house.

With gratitude and deep respect,
Victoria

March – From the Minister

Posted by on Feb 19, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

Give Together. Grow Together.  Pledge Campaign 2015.

You know we run it very lean. It doesn’t look that way because the building is beautiful and relatively new. It doesn’t look as if we run it on a shoestring but the fact is that we do.  Paid staff work long hours here, committees run budgets to the bone, and the building isn’t paid for yet, so we’re carrying a mortgage, and stuff breaks down, wears out, just like in any other house. We run it very lean – but it doesn’t feel that way when you hear our choir sing, or the children’s choir drumming, or listen, with tears pooling in your eyes, to our teenagers lead a Sunday service, telling us what it’s like to be young, what it’s like to be them.  It’s like a report from the front, smuggled in.

We run it lean but you’d never know it, listening to the music or the children, or the voices raised at the capitol for marriage equality, for voter equality, gun reform, immigrant rights, racial justice, or for a living wage.

Think of the times you have been moved, shaken, inspired, amazed, comforted, or sorely challenged when someone lights the chalice on an ordinary morning, illuminating the whole room by opening their heart.

Why else would you become a member, and come as often as you do on Sunday, if not to see your congregation thrive, and to take part in that thriving?   And how else could it thrive, without the support of its own people (there is no other source of income), people who say:  “We will give this much money next year, out of our precious, limited household resources, because we believe in this church, in its work in the world, and its value in our daily lives, grounding us in principles, convictions, courage, hope, joy; transforming us, in fact, into better people than we maybe thought we ever could be – more thoughtful, more faithful, more kind, more accountable to the Larger Love, by whatever name you call it.  We will pledge this much,”  the people say, “so we can plan to pay the salaries, the mortgage and utilities, and plan for music and curricula, paper, markers, candles, computers, coffee, everything.”

It is not the house itself.  It’s what the house holds dear, it’s what the house contains, and makes possible within and far beyond its walls.   Will you join me, and make a pledge worthy of our shared dreams, our common work, our love of this community?

With gratitude,
Victoria

http://www.wbuuc.org/pledge/ 

February – From the Minister

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

Note: These words were written just after the terrorist attacks in Paris, but since then we have heard terrible news of hate-fueled violence in Nigeria, leaving towns razed and thousands of people dead. Wherever fundamentalism erupts into murder, eclipsing the imagination, mutilating life, our hearts break and our souls cry out.
– Victoria

Prayer

From across the ocean, from across the land,
we send prayers of solidarity and compassion to the people of France,
to all the people of France,
to all people, for all people, alive in a beautiful and very dangerous world.

We pray for writers and artists and for the radical ideal of freedom of expression, freedom of conscience,
freedom of the press and freedom of speech,
this radical ideal of liberté, which has defined our own identity as a people no less than that of France.

We pray for all who have been the victims of violence, especially terrorist violence,
which nothing can justify and nothing can redeem.

We pray for those in France, in our own country and in every country,
who live daily under the deadening and sometimes deadly shadow
of constant humiliation, hatred, xenophobia, Islamophobia, mockery, intolerance, racism.

We pray for the space within each of us, that holy ground,
where the longing for freedom, the necessity of it,
meets commitment to compassion,
the holy ground of reverence and respect and restraint –
the necessity of these in any society and within any single person.
It is a complicated space in each of us and all of us dwell there together.

Further, we pray for that place, that crossroads, that moment, at which a human person may stand
(who knows how they came there?)
and in his freedom, or hers, chooses evil over courage,
ignorance over openness,
ideology over humanity,
chooses fear over love and violence over every other power.
We pray for those places of discernment,
where in their shining freedom shining human beings make irrevocable and monstrous choices, and all our trust is shattered.
At times like these we pray as we have prayed before
for the restoration of our own trust in humanity, and our hope;
we pray for the strength it takes to keep the borders open, the borders of our hearts.

In this moment when simplistic slogans choke the air, we pray for complexity, for the complexity of wisdom.
We pray for the complicated peace that arises only out of justice,
which arises only out of love: the wildest, most courageous love that anyone, anywhere, imagines.
It is the love out of which our only future on this planet, our shared future, can arise.

In the face of terror, we pray for less fear.
In the face of fear, we pray for more love.
Our prayer is for the living and the dead.

Victoria Safford 11 January 2015

Prayer

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

Prayer

From across the ocean, from across the land,
we send prayers of solidarity and compassion to the people of France,
to all the people of France,
to all people, for all people, alive in a beautiful and very dangerous world.

We pray for writers and artists and for the radical ideal of freedom of expression, freedom of conscience,
freedom of the press and freedom of speech,
this radical ideal of liberté, which has defined our own identity as a people no less than that of France.

We pray for all who have been the victims of violence, especially terrorist violence,
which nothing can justify and nothing can redeem.

We pray for those in France, in our own country and in every country,
who live daily under the deadening and sometimes deadly shadow
of constant humiliation, hatred, xenophobia, Islamophobia, mockery, intolerance, racism.

We pray for the space within each of us, that holy ground,
where the longing for freedom, the necessity of it,
meets commitment to compassion,
the holy ground of reverence and respect and restraint –
the necessity of these in any society and within any single person.
It is a complicated space in each of us and all of us dwell there together.

Further, we pray for that place, that crossroads, that moment, at which a human person may stand
(who knows how they came there?)
and in his freedom, or hers, chooses evil over courage,
ignorance over openness,
ideology over humanity,
chooses fear over love and violence over every other power.
We pray for those places of discernment,
where in their shining freedom shining human beings make irrevocable and monstrous choices, and all our trust is shattered.
At times like these we pray as we have prayed before
for the restoration of our own trust in humanity, and our hope;
we pray for the strength it takes to keep the borders open, the borders of our hearts.

In this moment when simplistic slogans choke the air, we pray for complexity, for the complexity of wisdom.
We pray for the complicated peace that arises only out of justice,
which arises only out of love: the wildest, most courageous love that anyone, anywhere, imagines.
It is the love out of which our only future on this planet, our shared future, can arise.

In the face of terror, we pray for less fear.
In the face of fear, we pray for more love.
Our prayer is for the living and the dead.

Victoria Safford  11 January 2015

January – From the Minister

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Spirituality | 0 comments

i am running into a new year / and the old years blow back / like a wind that i catch in my hair / like strong fingers like / all my old promises and it will be hard to let go / of what i said to myself / about myself / when i was sixteen and / twentysix and thirty-six / even forty-six but / i am running into a new year / and i beg what i love and / i leave to forgive me —Lucille Clifton, African American poet

525,600 minutes… How do you measure a year in a life? How about love? – Jonathan Larson, from Rent

It is, in some ways, an artificial construction, the concept of a “year, ” roughly but not quite perfectly describing one journey of our planet round the sun. Where have you traveled over the course of the past 365 days? As the great wheel turns once more, what do you leave behind as the revolution starts again? What travels with you always, what dream, what conviction, what love?

We are running into a new year, a new revolution. As January opens, we are setting our tables (and alarm clocks) for our Sixth Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast on Monday morning, January 19, joining communities all over the nation in this proud tradition of recognition and resistance. Join us—bring your friends, bring your children, as we watch the live broadcast from Minneapolis with keynote speaker Vernon Jordan, and also experience, in our sanctuary, the powerful in-person voice of Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, speaking on race and criminal justice in our country and community. Later this month, on Sunday evening, January 25, join filmmaker Mick Caouette for a showing here of his latest documentary, Mr. Civil Rights, on Justice Thurgood Marshall. Mick will be joined by nationally-acclaimed artist and poet Mary Moore Easter, reading poems that tie hard-won racial justice victories of the past to the mighty challenges of our present moment. (Spoiler alert: our own WBUUC choir is featured near the end of this film!)

Our theme this month is Reverence: the practice of giving things their proper due. As the new year opens, may we find new strength to set our hands to the constant struggle for more justice and more peace, for this is the work of reverence, the work of open eyes and open hearts. And as deep winter settles on the land, may we find new ways to wonder at the beauty of this world—for this is reverence, too. 525,600 minutes are an eye-blink, really, but within a year there’s more than ample time for work and wonder both, in equal measure.

December – From the Minister

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Spirituality | 0 comments

Courageous Conversations about Racism

In this turbulent time, we are called as Unitarian Universalists, and as human beings, to speak of our own experience of race, and to speak out about injustice, oppression and racism.  Thus do we build beloved community.

For us, the hardest speaking may be the most intimate: courageous conversations with loved ones, friends, and neighbors, all the people we see daily, about what we believe, what we hope for, the work on anti-racism and anti-oppression to which we are now committed.

Here in Minnesota, we have seen firsthand what courageous conversations can accomplish.  Speaking one by one with family, friends and even strangers, each of us helped make marriage equality the law of the land.

And so we begin.  Here follow a prayer for the journey, and a few suggestions, for starting the conversation with those you love right now.   Also below: the meditation which began the Sunday sermon on December 14, framing the context of this urgent, holy work.

A Prayer for Difficult Conversations by the Rev. Meg Riley, Unitarian Universalist

May our shared values be our compass,
Helping us to remember why we are on this spinning planet,
Helping us to navigate here in this dense thicket.
I know we are both struggling,

so may we have compassion for one another.

May our shared memories be our sustenance,
Nurturing us along as we are weary and wary on this rocky road,
Providing strength to go on.
I know we are kindred, so may we overcome this obstacle to kinship.

May our shared commitments point to our destination,
Imagining a place big enough to hold us all,
Desiring to live where love casts out fear.
I know we both want to be there, so may we touch it now.

May every word I speak be filtered through my heart.
May every word I hear be filtered through my heart.
May my inner judge sit this one out.
May I breathe into lovingkindness, for myself and for you.

And may I accept that we will both do this imperfectly.

 

Beginnings for beloved conversations about race

  • I’m thinking of the news from Cleveland, Staten Island, Ferguson.

My heart is broken over this because…

  • This year my church will mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma march. Do you remember those days?

What was that like for you then?

  • When did we stop talking about race?
  • What must those parents be feeling? What would it be like to be afraid whenever children go out?
  • How did you feel, when you saw all those people in the streets?
  • In the coming year I hope…
  • In the coming year, I pray…
  • I am committed to…

 

Advent Meditation in a Troubled Time

We come now into the season of silences and stillnesses:

winter starlight
winter moon
winter snowfall
winter dark,
even in the day-time, falling all around us in the early afternoon like a shawl of thickly-woven woolen quiet.

Our days, our lives, our heads, our phones and screens are very noisy.
We long for silence,
we strain to hear it, listen for it in the midst of
shopping and planning,
working,
careening from this event to that celebration,
from school concert to holiday spectacular:
busy things we love each year
and others that we really don’t;
the deafening bells
and soul-deadening seasonal music at the grocery store,
the sugared-energy of normally nice children who somehow got the memo
that to be human in December in America is to want more stuff;
the pulsing, incessant anxiety of not-enough-money-not-enough-time;
the general crabbiness of grown-ups;
the frantic commute on slick roads made treacherous by ice and short tempers -

We long for the silence:
winter starlight
winter moon
winter snowfall
winter darkness gentled just enough by quiet candles on the table,
Advent wreath, menorah,
just enough soft light to coax memories back in,
of winters past and loved ones gone,
all present in the heart.

We come now into the season of stillness and silence,
weary and ready for old stories and old music
promising us peace on earth, to all good will,
all the old carols of comfort and joy…

When suddenly, what to our wondering eyes and ears should appear?

Suddenly, and inconveniently,
we are reminded again,
and we are surprised to be reminded
(in the middle of Thanksgiving and now it’s almost Christmas, almost Hanukkah, almost the lovely silent winter solstice),

we are reminded, again,
and should not be surprised,
that this year there can be no silence,
because everywhere around us people are screaming and shouting
and praying
speak up, stand up, hands up…
without justice there can be no silence.
There can be no peace -
and weary as we think we are,
we know our weariness is privilege,
and so we rise up singing other sacred songs,
songs insisting that we cannot rest,
we who believe in freedom,
we cannot rest until it comes
.
And we quietly know,
despite what we might rather believe,
we do quietly know in this season of waiting, this season of darkness and light,
that unlike messiahs in mangers
and lamps that keep burning for eight nights with oil only sufficient for one,
we know that unlike these ancient miracles,
the miracle of freedom, of justice, of true peace on earth
will not just come, like a star in the sky or sent by God’s hand,
but we have to make it ourselves,
this miracle of freedom and justice and peace,
with human hands and human hope and human will and courage.

We come now into the season of holy stillness, deep silent nights,
and the stillness is shattered
by the stony, tone-deaf, loud and clear silence of two grand juries in rapid succession.
And that ominous silence,
those failures to indict,
that silence is shattered in turn by the voices of thousands and thousands,
hundreds of thousands and millions of people on Staten Island and in Ferguson,
St. Louis and New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Berkeley, Boston, St. Paul, LA – cities, small towns and campuses – London, Paris, Tokyo, Palestine:
young voices at the forefront,
very raw and crystal clear,
and older voices also,
black voices at the forefront,
also crystal clear,
and other voices also.

What does it sound like when millions of human beings whisper all at once, “I can’t breathe?”

At this time of year,
it sounds like the singing of angels,
a heavenly host sounding glad tidings which shall be for all people:
for unto us our children are born,
the light of the world,
and they shall not be shot dead, unarmed;
they shall not be extra-judiciously executed by a massively militarized policing policy that has spread from city to city and state to state like a virus of paranoid power,
a new slaughter of the innocents for a new and fearful age;
they shall not be stopped and frisked,
guilty until proven white;
they shall not be profiled in their own streets, in their homes, their cars,
or on the way to their own weddings,
or while playing in the park,
or while buying Skittles in their sweatshirts in the afternoon in Florida,

and it will not matter if they are so-called “good”  kids, college bound, never any trouble, or normal kids who are not picture perfect, or if they’re big or small, or grown men selling single cigarettes (which is not a capital offense) or what they’re wearing, or whether they are simply twelve years old –

none of this will matter
because they will each be known and recognized by their given name,
which is child of God,
same as your name, same as mine,
however you translate it theologically.

They shall not be shot because they are black,
nor sent by the millions upon millions to ruin in jails for stupid crimes in the tidal wave of mass incarceration known now as the new Jim Crow.

They shall not be killed and we shall not be moved.

That is what that whisper sounds like,
out of the deep silence,
the frozen, almost impenetrable silence of institutionalized and incorporated racism:

that is what democracy sounds like.

A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping: Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

So said the prophet Jeremiah.

In this cold climate of indifference,
we can’t breathe.