Mother Emanuel

28 Jun 2015

6/20/15

Mother Emanuel
Charleston, South Carolina
June 18, 2015

They died
with the Lord’s name in their mouth.

The house of the Lord
was traditionally
a sanctuary,
a place of safety and refuge.
Those who desecrated it
violated not only human life,
but God’s own Spirit.

They died
with the Lord’s name on their lips.

Prayer and gospel
surrounding them.
Goodness and mercy
filling them.
Their spirits dwelling
forever in
this House of God.

They died
in the arms of their Lord.

God watched the struggling soul,
hoping, praying Himself,
that the searching boy
would find a change of heart.
Then He gathered His lambs
to Him, and wept
for the one soul He lost.

They died,
yet in God, will live forever.

The Father sorrowed
as He took His children home.
While His people showered
the doubly damned one
in words of forgiveness,
and thoughts of love,
and prayers, prayers, prayers.

for Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church

BAMorris

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Red Roof Inn Child

28 Jun 2015

6/20/15

Red Roof Inn Child

She lives at the Red Roof Inn. How do I know this? When I travel to visit my god-children in Maryland, I stay at this Red Roof Inn. I have seen her being picked up by the school bus, her mother standing at the door to their room, watching to make sure she gets on the bus safely. Without the surroundings, it would be an average scene anywhere in America. Protective parent, sending a child off to a day at school, then returning to chores in their “home.”
I wonder what address does her information card at school hold? Does it say Red Roof Inn, with contact information saying, “Ask for room ____”? What is it like for a child to live in a motel? There are no other children in the “neighborhood” with whom she can play. No back yard or playground. What is it like to be surrounded by an ever changing array of strangers who are there for a day or two? Does her mother worry about the constant danger of strangers just outside her door: that one of them will watch for an unguarded moment to snatch her child? There can be no kitchen for bedtime snacks. No closet to hang school clothes or winter coats.
And I wonder, too, what brought a woman and her small child to this juncture in life, living in a room in the transient environment of a motel. But perhaps I have it all wrong. Perhaps I should see the security for them of a roof over their heads every night: the promise of a hot shower or bath: a bed with sheets and blankets: heat in winter and air conditioning in summer. Maybe this is a blessing for them, and better than what went before.
What is it like for a child growing up living in a Red Roof Inn?

BAMorris

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6/15/15

Rachel Dolezal (Moore)

The head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington, Rachel Dolezal (Moore), has been outed as a White woman, not the African American she has claimed to be. Reactions are mixed.
Her parents say they are perplexed as to why she has assumed this identity. Some leaders of the NAACP are forgiving, saying what she is in reality doesn’t matter: it’s what she has done to support and further the progress of the Negro race that counts. Some African Americans are puzzled. Others are angry. Caucasians are relatively quiet about this disclosure.
I think this is in some ways parallel to evolution of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner. They both were a person who was born into a body that they came to feel was untrue to what their inner self was. It wasn’t so long ago that a person born male who felt he was really female was stuck with that male body and role in life. Things have changed a great deal in the last fifty years on that front!
Most people are aware of the struggles that Caitlyn encountered and overcame in her journey to become physically and legally a woman. How could someone who was born Caucasian, but felt herself to be of African origin, change her persona? She could perm her hair: take shots to darken her skin: adopt the language and dress of the African American culture. But how could she change the legal status of her race? Would a court allow someone to do that? They certainly wouldn’t allow someone to change from African American to White!
I can understand identifying with another culture so strongly that you feel you must have been a part of that culture at some time in a previous life. Feeling that culture was so right, so natural to you, that it was like coming home. I have often been ashamed of my Northern European heritage because of its past history of being slave owners and oppressors of Native people; and because of the privilege that inherently comes with being a “White” person in America. But I can’t change the place in society that I came into for this life.
Obviously Ms. Dolezal thought she could. I don’t think she needs to be crucified for that. I’m not sure how I feel about her putting African American as her race on official documents, except it’s certain that that is who she feels she is. Certain enough to walk away from the acceptable life of being a White person in American and assume the mantle of a repressed and oppressed race.

BAMorris

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Respite

07 Jun 2015

6/2/15

Respite

Welcome change in the weather.
In the middle of summer
A respite of rain and coolness.
Drizzly day: cool and damp.
Gray leadened skies hang heavy
And low over the wet earth.
Gone sticky humidity.
Almost need a jacket now.
A brief bit of relief for a
Second. Then summer returns.

BAMorris

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5/27/15

Laurel High School Graduation

I attended a high school graduation today. This is my third this season. This particular ceremony stood out for me because of something the principal did. Mr. Jones happens to have been a co-worker of mine from back in the days when I was still teaching in Maryland, and he had not yet completed his training to be an administrator.
Mr. Jones schooled the 2015 graduates in the solemnity of a graduation ceremony. He told them to be proud of themselves and show their pride with their behavior. Before the graduation began, he charged his audience of parents, family, and friends to be as respectful of their children’s special day as their students were. And everyone was. I know the students heard him because no one wore flip flops or shorts. No one tossed a beach ball around for a game of volleyball. No one put silly messages on their mortar board’s top. No one did cartwheels on the stage after they got their diploma case. And not one hat was tossed randomly into the air after they turned their tassels. Parents clapped and cheered, but there were no air horns or cow bells. This graduation was one where we all celebrated our children’s passage with the due reverence that reflected the thirteen years that it took these young people to reach that moment. And all this was due to the power of one man, who loved those young people so much, that he started to cry when he offered his final words to them. They showed their love back to him with their behavior.
Kudos to you, Mr. Dwayne Jones! You are still the best of the best in education!

BAMorris

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War on Women

07 Jun 2015

5/27/15

War on Women

There is a world-wide war on women.

Three hundred plus Nigerian school girls are kidnapped by a radical Islamic army, and then sold or “given” as wives for soldiers. The Taliban assaults a Peshawar school that is educating girls as well as boys, killing 132 students. Acid is thrown into the faces of girls in Afghanistan who dare to go to school. Kidnapping and trafficking of girls as sex slaves in Asia and Africa and parts of Western Europe is widespread. The blatant attacks on females around the world go on and on.
But closer to home, here in the US, the assaults are more subtle. Legislators across the country are passing laws that allow businesses owned by people who say their religious beliefs forbid them from supporting any form of anti-conception, to opt out of providing insurance that would pay for forms of birth control. Legislators pass laws that shut down women’s health clinics because they can’t meet the legal standards of being a hospital. The hidden agenda is these clinics dispense birth control methods and perform abortions. It is clear that, if left unchecked by vigilant women’s rights groups, radical Christian groups will move to remove support for birth control for women who cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket and to outlaw all abortions in the United States.
Some may say that Christians are only following their beliefs. And Muslims are only following their beliefs that all women should be subservient to men. Who are either group, men I might add, to say what is right or wrong for me or my sisters? Live in your house how you feel, but stay out of mine.

BAMorris

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Black Girls Matter

07 Jun 2015

5/27/15

Black Girls Matter

Inner cities are jungles. Jungles are the homes of predators and prey. All young men who live in the inner cities of our country start as innocent children: most move to being the prey of drug dealers, gangs, and violence; and some graduate to being the predators who prey on a new crop of innocent youth. Or they die.
I applaud anything that gives a young man the opportunity to realize his potential, and to choose who and what he will become as an adult. I understand the emphasis on programs for young men. They are the ones who damage property, challenge the police, kill innocent people, and keep inner cities places of fear. But what about the young women of the inner cities? They grow up in the same jungle. They fall prey to predators the same as their brothers. They face the same poverty, the families laced with drugs, the violence both inside the home and outside in the streets, and the subculture that makes getting an education nearly impossible. But you don’t hear about programs to empower them to rise above the jungle. Why not?
I offer up some thoughts on “Why not?” In our American society, the man is still the “head of household.” Men are deemed more important, more powerful, and more valuable. Men are supposed to “take care” of women in a relationship. This all translates to women being treated like second class citizens, the “weaker sex”, the “little woman”, expected to be subservient to their men, and therefore, less important.
I posit this to the world: Every girl growing up in the inner city is the mother-to-be of those very boys that government programs want to save. So, if you save her first: from poverty, from violence, from a life in low paying jobs or on welfare, from unwanted pregnancies, from drugs: you save those male children she may birth and raise later.

BAMorris

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