this made my heart cry today:

Why are we fighting to live if we're living to die?
Why are we fighting for love if it only makes us cry?
Why are we fighting for gangs when all our colors are the same?
Why are we dying with no one to blame?
Why are we killing for all the wrong reasons?
Why are we dying every day, every month, every season?
Why are we worried that Daddy isn't coming home?
Why are so many children left in this world alone?
Why can't we go outside and play?
Why is Mommy worried that one of us may get hit with a stray?
What is the reason Daddy isn't coming home today?
Why do we have to sleep on the floor at night?

Why do we hurt and fight?
Can we all stand together and make all wrong right?
Why do people bring babies in the world like this?
Why did that bullet have to hit Starkesia?
Why didn't it miss?
Why does money make the world go around?
Why when we die we get put in the ground?
Why does it seem as our life changes in so many ways?
Why does it feel as we are living in our last days?
Why does this gang get into it with that gang?
When everyone lives in the same community and has the same things?
Why doesn't death scare me anymore?
Because death is a game and has reached its final score.
Why is it that when a person dies a baby is born?
Or is it that the person comes back reformed.
Why is it that we are focused on the good and never expect the bad?
Why after we laugh, we cry?
Why are we fighting to live if we're living to die?

written by shontanette brinson, 8th grade, in memory of siretha white, 10, and starkesia marie reed, 14, killed by stray bullets earlier this month inside their own homes in southside's englewood, chicago, il. how do we just let this happen? it would not be allowed to happen where i grew up, were these beautiful girls' lives less valuable? why do we not make something happen?


God's word to me:
Ezekiel 3:1-12

He told me, "Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel."
As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat, saying, "Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!"
So I ate it. It tasted so good--just like honey.
Then he told me, "Son of man, go to the family of Israel and speak my Message. Look, I'm not sending you to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words you can hardly pronounce. If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.
"But it won't work that way with the family of Israel. They won't listen to you because they won't listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I'll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I'll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don't let them intimidate you. Don't be afraid of them, even though they're a bunch of rebels."
Then he said, "Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, "This is the Message of GOD, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not."

thoughts from sankofa-
it seems so many times that when we speak about justice issues, action enters the conversation. justice cannot be a reality unless we act - unless we know the right ways to act & overturn unjust institutions. in making these plans to act and deciding how we will act to overturn injustice in the future, though, the topic of the Spirit is often forgotten. it seems that if we wait for the Spirit, we are refusing to act now or are accused of being afraid. it is true that working towards justice in neither optional in Christianity nor solely a call to which some Christians are not given a passion for, but there still must be guidance by the Spirit in how and where to act. if we decide to act "for" God without His guidance, we will be working with human- sized tasks. if, instead, our actions toward justice are founded on a specific and explicit direction from God - led by God & designed by Him & covered in His Spirit- even if it seems ridiculous or impossible - He will show up and do His will and the success will be more than we can imagine.


i've heard many times over that one of every three women will be abused or sexually attacked in their lifetime. not until today was i able to comprehend what that statistic really means, as i heard three beautiful women in our group sharing stories of being raped or sexually assaulted. their vulnerability, their truthfulness, their beautiful hearts are so real and they have been so broken and angered and defamed. such stories bring an atmosphere of community - of doing life together, of caring for one another, of being real with one another. they should never be afraid to share their stories because others will tell them it was their own fault and really, they wanted it. no does not mean yes. thank you, women, for your openness and honesty and vulnerability. you are beautiful.


so spring. what a beautiful surprise.
i finally feel this burst of joy i've been waiting for as i sit here, listening to the rain outside my window. and as i walk back a few minutes ago, completely enraptured by the beauty of the tree silhouettes against the orange chicago sky, allowing the rain-drops to sting my face, i realize i am finally feeling again... no longer numb and apathetic, no longer waking up every morning feeling miserable. and somehow i remember that i love life again and i can trust God to bring me when He wants, even if it is in His time (and His watch is always so slow compared to my own). and so maybe i can wait and enjoy the days i have instead of worrying that He has abandoned me, laughing at my situation from His place because i suppose He does love me and perhaps He does think i am beautiful and i can just be me and that is enough.

i am put together with stardust and good blood and fine genes, with the continuous urgings and tender pushes from ancestors and old friends and even the newly departed - loved ones, every one.
i have a strong body, carved out of ebony and jurassic amber, bronze and hard iron. my eyes are cut from diamonds. my hair is woven from the cattails of the blue nile and my eyelashes are the feathers of the great heron and my blood is the juice of pomegranates and my muscles are the haunches of the leopard and my joints are the knees of mountain goats and the elbows of elephants and my feet are onyx, planted solid on a rock, or sometimes eagle's wings, lifting me up, up, up to soar and dip and fly.
i smell like the earth and like the sweat of a fertile bride waiting for her virile groom and like all the flowers that ever bloomed and ever will bloom again and again. my heart is generous, so filled with forgiveness and hope that i can sing to children and shelter old women and hold old men in my arms and wipe away the regrets in their tears.
i can swim the mediterranean sea and scale mckinley and badille and kilimanjaro and aconcagua, and i can ride st. mary's glacier from her icy heights , across blue valleys as wide as rivers, and dip gracefully into the mouths of green lakes and call the trout and the rock bass and the wallete, and hear their words when they answer...
i am stronger than a sepik crocodile, more cunning than gideon's three hundred, more powerful than david's five stones, brighter than the thunderbolts of zeus.
i can change lives, resolve injustice, reverse poverty, inspire hearts and minds, connect kindred souls. i can make laughter and inspire singing, persuade lovers to find each other, strangers to make friends, and enemies to make peace. i can move mountains.
i will thus now, emboldened with the spirit of the ages preach the good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, teach deliverance to the captives, recover sight to the blind, and set at liberty those that are bruised and defeated.
i can even tame a lion, snare it and pin it on its back and hold it down, until its bravado is quieted, its heavy breathing not even a whisper, its roar only soft breathing - more quiet than a hummingbird waiting to fly, softer than dew.
every morning i wash the sky and sing the clouds aloft.
then i drink in the sunshine and i glow...
beauty above me, beauty below me, beauty to the left of me, beauty to the right of me, beauty before me. i am, like the navajo, on the pollen path.
i know these things because i have the knowledge of the ages at my right hand and the wisdom of the universe at my left hand. and peace flows in me like a deep, blue river that i mount like a stallion and ride and ride into the everlasting.

p. 214-217, Patricia Raybon, My First White Friend