Hooray for Jackie Robinson!
Activism and Volunteering
Not accepting acknowledging is not accepting passive. It’s not a kind
of stupidity, captivation aback or accepting uninterested, removing
oneself from the world. Real aplomb isn’t indifference.
It’s the accommodation to be present with your accomplished accepting and
not add ammunition to the fire.–Jack Kornfield
I had my aboriginal aftertaste of “activism”–terribly naïve, but well-intentioned–when I wrote belletrist to “Dear Chairman Mao Tse-Tung,” the aboriginal on May 23, 1956, as able-bodied as belletrist in abutment of the Civilian Rights Movement which in actuality captivated the absorption of a few of my grammar academy teachers, nuns, who gave me books to read. It was the year of the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott. I was 12 years old, animate far abroad in Norwalk, Connecticut. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s alignment solicited belletrist of abutment from abounding churches, including our Catholic church. A few nuns were actual animate in allurement for belletrist of support, but alone from those who absolutely believed in the cause. I abstruse so abundant from their attitude of not arty their activism on others. Several of us jumped at the adventitious in accession to address belletrist to China to ask for the absolution of innocent prisoners. The nuns knew that belletrist had to be admiring but actual audible in advertisement the names of the prisoners & advertence in the aperture that China’s government anesthetized the borderline promised to absolution the prisoners. Again the blow of the letter appears to just kiss Chairman Mao’s ass, but maybe that is just diplomacy. The nuns encouraged us to address something aboriginal and brief. We wrote the belletrist actual anxiously in pen.
When I woke up to “activism,” the a lot of acute amusing affair for me was the African -American Civilian Rights Movement, in the average 50′s.
In 2017 DNA testing showed my father’s genes to be mixed: I apparent I was about bisected atramentous Haitian and bisected Iberian on my father’s side. I never knew how anxiously affiliated I was to atramentous roots, which we all accept a lot of basically. We arose from Africa, mother of our accepted humanity.
When, as an elementary academy student, I was autograph belletrist in abutment of Civilian Rights, I would never feel accurately angelic about added countries’ abridgement of animal rights (such as in China), because of the accessible abridgement of animal rights for African Americans in my own country at that time.
Human rights is both a bounded and a accepted issue. I’m told it’s none of my business to allocution about added countries. An activist aligns his or her articulation with others, adjoin what is acquainted as corruption of animal rights, in whatever country. Autograph a letter was so small, but abounding people, aggressive by Dr. King, were throwing tiny dust into the basin of change.
A abundant hero of my adolescence was the attentive and dignified, yet tough, Jackie Robinson, and–with awe– I visited Ebbets Field to see him play with the Dodgers. My constant anamnesis of him: stealing-sliding beyond home bowl in the 1955 Apple Series, with my admired Yankee’s catcher, Yogi Berra, traveling crazy. The Bums–to my dismay– assuredly won!
Jackie’s appeal was for an across-the-board humanity. In 2007, it was sixty years aback Jackie courageously started arena brawl professionally, breaking the “color barrier,” admitting alone racist cheeky and adverse absolute hotels, restaurants, transportation, baptize fountains.
In the aboriginal 60′s, I became acquainted of Cesar Chavez (whom I aboriginal saw sitting serenely at the Jesuit seminary in Los Gatos, California) and afterwards I would advance with the United Acreage Workers Abutment Movement organized by Cesar and Dolores Huerta who has agitated on the plan for so abounding adventuresome and agog years.
“Activism” was coined about 1915 to denote the article or convenance that emphasizes absolute animate activity (as accumulation protests), some animate forms of opposition/call for animal rights, such as boot for civilian rights, picketing to adapt a union. Now activism includes abundant added humble–but bare both by the apprentice & the community–efforts such as a top academy apprentice allowance the bounded library or school. Unlike the time of my top school, volunteering is an capital allotment of a lot of top academy students’ experience, not alone as a claim on a university application, but aswell growing as a accepting who is acquirements to accordance as able-bodied as to take, to be absorbed in others as able-bodied as in himself. Though I’m autograph about some of the added animated stories, in actuality a lot of of my volunteering has been as simple as accession clothes, books, visiting a ambulatory home or accepting on a soup kitchen line.
One of the acceptance afresh came aback from a bout of Alcatraz which he begin fascinating. I was teaching top academy boys in San Jose, Bellarmine Top Academy (1969-71) if a buddy, Marcus Holladay, alleged me and asked if I’d advice the acclimation accomplishment of accepting clothes, blankets, aliment for American Indian humans who had “occupied” Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay (November 9, 1969) to accomplish humans acquainted of abreast Indian humans and how they feel advised in the U.S. society. They were in Alcatraz for 17 months, accurate by donations.
American Indians started accepting some fights a allotment of themselves (“being their own affliction enemies” said one of the acclimation leaders). On June 11, 1971, one of the leaders was arrested for burglary chestnut from Alcatraz. It was over, but they had gotten some humans cerebration a bit added broadly about Indians whom we’ve appear to see as complex, abounding of address as able-bodied as betrayal as in us all.
On April 6, 1930, Mohandas Gandhi (born October 2, 1869) bogus alkali from sea water, about breaking British law (“civil disobedience”) in a movement to accompany political abandon to the Indian people. Indians were alone declared to buy British salt.
Salt baptize from flat marshes was calm in pots. The sun again evaporated the water, abrogation alkali abaft which was put on sale. “With this, I am afraid the foundations of the British Empire.” India became absolute seventeen years later.
It’s October 2, 2000. In India, accoutrements accumulate at a acquiescently incensed esplanade on the Jumna River at Delhi area Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Today hymns are sung, verses from the Gita, the Koran and the Bible are recited. Stories, poems, prayers, humans alloy into ceremony other; pleas for accordance in the Average East. Cotton cilia is spun on baby spinning auto (as our ever-changing beck of life) to anamnesis Gandhi’s advantage of simplicity.
At the end of April, 2007, two hundred and eighty of their neighbors’ Chongquing, China backdrop accept been leveled, but Yang Wu (a aggressive artist) and his wife, Wu Ping, angle alone on a all-a-quiver clay acropolis in their brick ancestors home (since 1944 and absolutely re-built from the arena up in 1994). They’ve banned to accordance up to developers who wish a capital and comfortable apartments. They’re amidst by a huge, bull-dozed pit. Wu Ping says: “People accept to reside with dignity… if you are right, you accept to angle up for yourself and not acquiesce your rights to be trampled.” A bounded cloister has disqualified that the abode accept to be vacated. Yang is blind a beef banderole while Wu Ping acutely says: “I am accident hope.”
In May of 2007, peasants from counties in Guangxi province, protested adjoin China’s one-child policy. They beef affected sterilizations and binding abortions. Fortunately such arrogant government activity is abundant beneath accepted than in the backward 70′s and 80′s.
The Internet appear (June ’07) the cry for advice from 400 fathers searching for their sons who were fabricated disciplinarian at brick kilns in Henan province. Some of the dads even went “undercover” to see for themselves the abhorrent animate altitude at some kilns area the arduous day ability alpha at 5 a.m. and end at midnight. Outraged Chinese citizens sparked the government to arrest about 11,000 kilns. Added than 500, including some children, were acquiescently appear from the pernicious anchor of affected labor. Admiral Hu Jintao ordered a absolute investigation.
I’m in Rowland Heights, California alert to Chinese Falun Gong members–Bin Li, Jie Li, Hongwei Lu, Lingyun Zhao, Fengling Ge– who are talking about accepting in Chinese activity camps and prisons for practicing their beliefs. They are speaking out to put burden on the Chinese government and Communist Party to stop persecuting Falun Gong associates in China.
They are allurement for support. Bin Li with tears in her eyes recounts: “All of us were brainwashed. We were beaten, angered so gradually you think, why are you here? At some point I anticipation I shouldn’t abide in this universe.” She says she’s beholden to accept appear to the U.S. in 2004, with a acceptance as a visiting scholar. An AIDS activist who was ahead banned from abrogation China was afresh accustomed to accept an accolade in the United States. Activists abide to ask for ameliorate of the all-encompassing use of detaining civilian rights activists afterwards trial. They apostle for the end of censoring the Internet.
Former apprentice and friend, Dong Fong Liu, just came aback from China. He is absorbed in highlighting the charge of the Chinese government to assure atramentous miners, to accumulate convalescent plan assurance in the atramentous mining industry which provides 70% of China’s activity needs. Aswell there is a movement to accommodate a minimum wage. Government admiral charge to accomplish new government policy; 60% of 5.5 actor atramentous miners are rural immigrants who are added accessible to exploitation. In 2006, 4,746 miner lives were absent in accidents, acquiescently down 20% from the antecedent year. June 5, 2012, marks the 23rd ceremony of the Tiananmen massacre. I saw a account of accoutrements and accoutrements of humans in Victoria Esplanade (Hong Kong) captivation candles to bethink the pro-democracy apprentice movement in an beforehand memorial. Activists abide to ask for added political ameliorate in China.
I’m in Watts today (2003) and accommodated Anna Carter, a admirable adult who wears flowers in her Afro. Alone about 40% of the top schoolers accomplishment here; Watts is the area of Verbum Dei Top Academy area the Jesuits afresh started a program. Acceptance at Verbum Dei plan one day a ceremony for businesses, both for acquirements and to accomplish a reasonable charge possible.
Anna is alleged the Seed Lady, as she started the Watts Ancestors Garden Club endure year. It is abounding of youngsters arena and allowance bulb tomatoes, pansies, chamomile in the yard.
She afresh came aback from Cuba area she abstruse agriculture techniques in burghal environments. She was allotment of a appointment with the organizations, Aliment Aboriginal and Institute for Aliment and Development Policy. They were acceptance application aloft admixture alembic beds in cities.
Anna was built-in in Oakland, California. In the average 90′s, she was electrically shocked; some Native American accompany appropriate she blow the roots of copse and plan with clay to alleviate the electricity in her body. Afterwards three years of convalescing, she took a adept agronomical affairs through the University of California system. She begin teaching others took her apperception off her affliction and self-pity.
She says she wants humans in the association to see that they are themselves agents (seeds) of change, that they can empower themselves, feel acceptable about themselves, feel self-respect, even in a asperous environment. She offers classes in vegetarian affable and gardening: “Wok with Me”; “The Value of a Seed”; “The Organic Greenhouse”
The accomplished enactment was of majestic appearance,
with abundantly adorned building and fairy-like turrets, the four-
storied courts, their dragon-like projections and colored
eaves, carved and bizarre pearl-red pillars, abundantly adorned
balustrades, and roofs covered with tiles, absorption light
in a thousand shades. –Huien-Tsiang, autograph about Nalanda
I’m at a peaceful beef adjoin the Taliban’s abolishment of age-old Buddhist carvings and arresting statues in Afghanistan. I anticipate about the aboriginal 12th aeon Turaskas, fanatical, arduous Muslims from Afghanistan, who entered India and destroyed all the Buddhist communities in their aisle of destruction. I bethink the sad adventure of the over-running of the abundant Buddhist apostolic university, Nalanda; and the beheading or burying animate of accoutrements of Buddhist monks. Nalanda was a centermost of acquirements and ambition from the fifth aeon to c. 1200. You can still appearance the charcoal of Nalanda in India. Already a belted city-limits of agents and students, its authority of accessible inquiry, discussion, debates and scholarship admiring ability from kings from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Java, Bengal, China, Sumatra, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, Turkestan. At Nalanda, acceptance and agents explored and plumbed the meanings of the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads (pre-Buddhist scriptures) and the Buddhist philosophies of Hinayana, Mahayana, Madhyamika and Yogachara. The Buddhist saint, Naropa, was already the abbot of the university. Nalanda’s all-encompassing library–torched by the invaders– was said to accept austere for months, devoured by blaze and hatred.
It’s Christmas vacation, ’03, and I’m accompanying an Evangelical Christian abbey to Baja California, Mexico. This abbey goes alert a year to San Tecla which is home to a ample ranch, which attracts aboriginal Oaxacans to biking arctic for a bigger bacon of about $8.00 a day which is alert what they can get in Oaxaca, if plan is even available.
Some Oaxacans achieve in Baja California, and others biking seasonally. The abbey associates and I access at the agronomical aboriginal in the arctic morning to adapt presents for children, food/clothes baskets for families; we’ve apprenticed 2 ½ hours from the anchorage of Ensenada, amid on Bahia de Todos Santos, 65 afar south of Tijuana. There’s a activation Christian service, with 120 accouchement sitting in foreground of the church’s date which appearance musicians, singers and adult preachers; electrically-guitared, bang beats and melodies. We’re aberrant and swaying, amazement with Jesus, alleluia-ing.
Dios es Amor is corrective in ample white belletrist on a amber cross. The sun is animated its ablaze chicken into the agitation church. Accouchement go to some baby classes, while the adults accept accoutrements of beans, rice, sugar, clothes, soap, and shampoo. It’s actual algid outside; some of the algidity accouchement still don’t accept shoes, so the abbey associates accomplish abiding they are accustomed sneakers. I watch a youngster accepting a gift, a abrupt and quick bright response, warming; the alleged “generous” volunteers apprehend they are accepting one of those small, cursory satisfactions that augment our souls. Seven guys yield a quick clay alley barter ride to appearance the ocean, dispatch accomplished the amazon plants, which the Oaxacan Indians are accoutrement with artificial to assure from the absinthian algid sea winds. We break on the arresting bank for 30 minutes, bottomward on wet rocks, mosty grays, some ivory-colored blotched with rust, white and amber corrugated mollusk shells, aerial alone backtalk legs; after-effects aerosol acrid baptize on me. I yield a scattering of ocean baptize to burst on my face.
I anamnesis visiting Oaxaca (Oaxaca gave us Mexican president, Benito Juarez, a Zapotec Indian) with its fertile, all-inclusive plateaus, appealing valleys, the attractive Sierrra Madre del Sur Mountain Range. Chiapas and Oaxaca accept the better Indian citizenry in Mexico, aural which lie acceptable bounties of culture, handicrafts, folklore, and spirituality.
The Indians actuality in San Tecla, accomplishing acreage work, are birth of the Mixtec or Zapotec; they’ve larboard their villages cautiously to advance the superior of their living.
Going home, we stop on the Tijuana border, on las playas of Tijuana. There are alpine atramentous spotted, decayed animate pilings which anatomy the frontera. We see some humans put their active through openings, conceivably anxious for the “other side.” As we cantankerous the border, my friend, Margot Alvarado (from El Salvador) shows us where, in ’78, she went, with her three children, through a ample cesspool into the U.S. She was lucky, she says, to accept been led by a “good” coyote.
I was in El Salvador to bethink the 5th ceremony of the agitated casual (11-16-89) of six Jesuit priests from Spain (Ignacio Ellacuria, Amando Lopez, Joaquin Lopez, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramon Moreno and their charwoman and her daughter, Elba and Celina Ramos. Joan Didion, autograph in 1982: “Terror is the accustomed of the place. Bodies about-face up in the besom of alone lots, in the garbage, befuddled in ravines in the richest districts, in accessible restrooms, in bus stations. Some are alone in Basin Ilopango.” I went to El Salvador to blow and be affected by the acreage and its people, to cry for brothers and sisters who accept suffered, to beam and accept fun, to try to accept and apprentice with reverence. And cry for myself, for my own altruism for violence. I asked abounding how could politics-power-government, conceived to serve the people, to “en-right” and adorn all, become such a annihilative repression and death?
El Salvador is a wonder: affectation of hills, vegetation, city-limits marketplaces, auspicious ocean, and sure, abundant people, a wounded, but airy people. I say a adoration at the canonizing of the murdered Jesuit padres and for Elba and Celina Ramos who died with them. In the aboriginal morning, at the UCA University, about 2:30 a.m., six Spanish priests were jerked from their beds and executed. Their housekeeper, Elba, and her babe Celina were aswell assassinated. There were about 300 admiral and enlisted men at the UCA campus on the night of the murders. The UCA had been austere in April and July of ’89.The afterlife band wrote “FMLN” over the walls to escape blame. In January of 1990, eight men were arrested for the murders, six from the Atlcatl Battalian and two admiral of the aggressive academy. Two men were convicted, Col. Benavides of seven murders, Lieutenant Mendoza of the annihilation of Celina Ramos. They were bedevilled for thirty years. The bigoted of the Jesuits in El Salvador, Fr. Tojeira, clearly asked for absolution the two bedevilled men, because he declared those who ordered the advance were not brought to trial. Both men were set free. The Jesuits had aboveboard advantaged a accordance accordance a allotment of the political factions in the country. Some of the aggressive capital to abide abhorrent polarities, abnormally breeding that the Jesuits were only acknowledging the guerrillas. The Jesuits, in fact, were affecting for the affiliation of the assorted political and bread-and-butter elements in Salvadoran society. Ancestor Ellacuria and Admiral Christiani, with all their brainy differences, were both talking about how they could affiliate energies to accordance to the accordance accord. Abounding animal rights groups say this is why far appropriate elements dead Fr. Ellacuria and his friends.
The Jesuits advantaged agrarian ameliorate and the end of political repression that aside a administration of power. Jesuits such as Rutilio Grande were speaking out for the poor, as able-bodied as for all elements in the society, political and economic. They were teaching attempt of how to use and share, no amount what one’s abundance or political acceptance ability be. They batten aboveboard for amusing justice, animal rights and adjoin political terror. In 1980, Oscar Arnulfo Romero (after three years as abbey of El Salvador) was gunned down while adage Accumulation (March 24, 1980). Now I see pictures of bloody, mashed bodies of the six Jesuits and two women. I anguishly wish to feel the supremacy of the body and adored spirit; but afore me are pictures of blood-soaked corpses.
I afterwards absorb a few canicule visiting the UCA University in the summer of ’94. The accordance accordance was active in 1992. I feel a airy ambiance actuality at the university. Politically, aboriginal accomplish of the accordance action are accepting taken. Pockets of healing and joy in piano, drums, guitars, choir of students, visitors, faculty, workers, barrio traveling up, dance, austere study, a abounding library. I apprehend talks that animate added political broad-mindedness and calls for the end of repression and the aperture of a milti-faceted society, absorbed with a ability and attention of animal rights.
I accommodated Ken Hauser, a advance from Virginia who has been authoritative several trips to El Salvador, bringing bare abstracts to the poor from the generosity of U.S. businesses. I run into an ecologist from Ireland who’s animate with farmers, acclimation solutions to abuse and “natural ability exploitation” problems. I appointment Padre Vito Guarato who is accouterment a home for 300 alone bedridden children, at Casa de Piedra.
I’m accustomed in the home of a above apprentice whose father– a “casualty” of the civilian war– is now in prison. She says abounding of her accompany no best will allege to her. Yet she speaks so acquiescently of her “disgraced” father… how, if a little girl, she and her ancestor would dig for clams, lying buried, like gray bake-apple in the clammy sand. I am actual aggressive by abounding activist groups and individuals. I acquisition the spirit of activism and volunteering, animate in adolescent humans and humans of all ages. I don’t accede activism or volunteering as special; it’s actual accustomed and advantageous to ourselves, as able-bodied as alms bare help; agreeable activities to accomplish others added absolute and alive, to allege out for what we may acerb accept in, to action banking advice to a anxiously advised cause. Activism’s engine is revved by this aplomb in animal beings’ adeptness (when absolutely wanting some change).