As the election neared I sat through sermons where from the pulpit it was preached, how to vote biblically. The translation of how to vote biblically meant voting republican. The arguments for this position centered around sanctity of life and around religious freedom.
In my mind’s eye voting biblically also meant consideration of the poor, the immigrant, the widow and the orphan as well as caring for the environment as God’s creation. I read a book a long time ago by Lisa Sharon Harper called Evangelical does not equal Republican or Democrat, the book centers around the rising conflation of the Christian faith with republican politics. But the title is what has stuck with me all these years.
In this time, if we relegate God to either political party, then our God is too small. We have put God in a box of our own making, making God fit into an agenda too short sighted for the kingdom of God.
The reality is that God’s kingdom is not a democracy, it is not a two party system, in fact most often it is described as a mustard seed or like yeast. God’s kingdom is about the lost finding a home, the dejected finding acceptance and even the most forgotten being loved.
I fear that in America, there is a seeking of power as a means of “returning the nation back to God”. This idea that if we just brought prayer back into schools, or that if abortion was outlawed then we would somehow be a Christian nation. We forget that even when Christians have been in power there was segregation and genocide and that Christianity has been used as a weapon of oppression.
As Christians it seems that there is a fear of losing power in an environment of secular humanism, that Christians in America will experience persecution.
I believe that Christianity was never about power in the first place, Jesus taught us a lot about what it meant to live under oppression, to challenge religious institutions, to cross lines of race and gender and to love each other in spite of a lack of power. It seems that the disciples and others in Jesus’ time had wanted him to rule an earthly empire. I wonder if disciples today are still chasing that earthly kingdom and using their vote to get there.
We are called to be healers, to make disciples to love the least of these, this is the kingdom we should be seeking, and allow God to handle the rest. After all the kingdom belongs to God, not to us, it is a kingdom not a democracy.
In the wave of a pandemic many are feeling the impact of shortages of essential supplies, anxiety over how this virus will impact their own health or those of a loved one, or even worry over the present and future impact on the economy. Yet, there is a need to pause and reflect on how existing institutional racism, classism and other forms of oppression are exacerbated particularly on specific populations.
Every day in and day out my work focuses on those that are unsheltered which are majority people of color. When the virus first came into the conversation one of the facets that is easy to miss is that those with preexisting conditions such as lung, kidney or immunodeficiencies are more susceptible to the virus. And when people experiencing homelessness are sick, the vast majority lack a primary care physician with which to seek care from. Not to mention, when orders such as shelter in place are activated those that are unsheltered lack the basic means to comply and minimize their exposure.
Further, when the shelter in place order is enacted and enforced by law enforcement the underlying problem of racial profiling takes on a new dimension. Black and Brown men going to work at essential services and business, mothers taking their children to the local school for food are criminalized for normal activities to meet their basic needs and those of our society. Race also comes into play when those of Chinese descent are harassed or blamed for the coronavirus, this is rooted in xenophobia and racism.
Class comes into play when considering who in society can work from home and those that cannot. Working from home is a privilege mostly benefitting knowledge workers, with higher education. Those that are hourly and in many service industries such as hotel workers, retail employees, and others are suffering from the loss of income. Many working families who were already struggling to pay their bills are especially under the strain. And for those that are obligated to continue working such as farm workers there are little to no protections to prevent community spread while they work sun up to sundown to put food on our tables.
What can we do during this time to address these inequalities:
1) Check in with a local nonprofit, does your local shelter need toilet paper, milk, additional canned goods? I bet they do! Now is the time to donate if you can.
2) Support artists, single moms, small businesses and anyone else you know might be struggling by buying a pack of diapers or their merchandise from an online store.
3) Stay civically engaged. Hold leaders accountable for how shelter in place orders are enforced in your community. Fill out the census! All of the groups mentioned in this blog post are typically undercounted. Now is the time to count!
Black and Brown communities have long been plagued by the same oppressive tactics of disenfranchisement, violence, and criminalization of their identities. We live side by side, going to the same schools, going to the same grocery store, working the same jobs. Our struggles are similar and yet often we are bystanders rather than active in solidarity. This is not accidental, historically and culturally carrying over to the present day; communities of color have been divided and pitted against each other as a means of control.
Growing up Latinx, there are subtle and explicit ways in which I was socialized to be anti-black. Whether it was family members that complained that their Black coworkers weren’t pulling their weight or even in dating the phrase “mejorar la Raza” literally means make the race better by marrying whiter. Not to mention external forces in mainstream media that bombard the psyche with stereotypes.
Living and growing up side by side with Black people in a diverse community like Sacramento, meant that I have always had friends that were Black for as long as I could remember. And its easy when you have friends that are Black to feel a sense of exemption from the racism that swirls around us. Yet the real test of our friendships, of our values, of our love of people is where we stand when times get tough; our capacity to empathize and show up for each other.
Our reactions to the live action anti-blackness we witness tell the truth. When there is police brutality, do we shrug our shoulders and ask why they had x in their hand? Do we take to the streets and console crying mothers who will never again see their sons? When a coworker get passed over for a promotion or is put down in a meeting, do I stick my neck out for them or stay silent to avoid rocking the boat?
There are risks to solidarity, of being seen as a trouble maker, perceived loss of status and or being called overly sensitive. In a systemic racism, there are rewards for compliance, to being a bystander, to turning a blind eye, to mimic and be in proximity to whiteness. In essence to be a token, is to subscribe to the ideologies of whiteness, even to the detriment of communities of color. And often non-black people of color choose to be a bystander out of sheer survival. This how systemic racism continues to thrive as an environment in which we ignore history and its implications that play out in the day to day in the lives of Black & Brown people.
We can do better, I can do better. We do not have to resign ourselves to apathy but rather we can choose to live out a life that values others enough to take on their struggles as our own. While I may never know what its like to walk this earth as Black person, I can hold space for the pain, the anger, and show up for people. Because today its for you, tomorrow for me.
“We will keep the criminals, the drug dealers, we will keep them all out of our country,” he said. “We will get rid of all of this. We will end finally birthright citizenship.” Donald Trump
Meanwhile, a U.S. citizen entered a synagogue and killed 11 people, a U.S. citizen opened fire in a grocery store in Louisville killing 2 Black people. How many more incidents are needed to show that violence is not invading the U.S., hitchhiking with immigrants. Rather, the violence and murder that we are seeing is homegrown and cannot be divorced from the white supremacy that permeates every facet of society.
I am more fearful of the people within our country, then those outside of it. Now is a time to hold up a mirror to ourselves rather than build a wall.What would happen if children born in this country would not be granted citizenship if their parents were not lawful permanent residents?
It means that I would not a be citizen. It means that I would be living undocumented in the only country I had ever known. I would not have had the opportunities to obtain higher education, I would not have the ability to work legally. More than likely to survive I would be relegated to work that is exploitative and dangerous participating in underground economies.
In reality eliminating birth right citizenship would actually increase the number of people that are undocumented over generations doing the opposite of what it purports to do. “The letter and spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment places those born in this country on equal footing, and an executive order that strips away citizenship would create a permanent group of second-class citizens and invite litigation.”
Over time, the elimination of birthright citizenship would also mean a group of people that is disenfranchised without the right to vote. I am not deceived, what is being framed as a public safety issue is in fact a long term game of disenfranchisement, disempowerment and exploitation.
This is not new, we can trace our finger along U.S. history and see several examples were people were not fully counted as citizens and thus were not represented and had their rights stripped away. It is this hateful and misguided rhetoric that fuels violation of rights and violence, this is a domestic issue. Now is not the time for xenophobia, now is the time to protect rights and resist.
"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place," Trump tweeted.
1) Because our society does not believe women and children when they come forward to report abuse.
2) Because our society questions the character of the alleged victim rather than the perpetrator. Why were you at the party? What were you wearing? What were you drinking?
3) Because privilege protects power, and those in power will use their gender,class and race to protect themselves. For example, stating how a man’s career will be ruined by an accusation means we care more about the man’s career than the victims trauma and humanity.
4) Because retaliation is real and there is no coming back from coming forward. Your reputation and identity becomes victim. You become known by the worst moments that have ever happened to you.
5) Because perpetrators threaten and coerce victims into silence and convince them it was their fault, especially if that person is already marginalized by society due to their gender, race, class, age or immigration status.
These are just a few reasons why, whether or not someone reports has nothing to do with whether an assault happened or not.
By: Elisabet Medina
At first, I really didn't want to go to El Sauce. I wanted a vacation which in my mind meant sand, ocean, and a drink in my hand far away from the demands of daily life and the stomach turning news. Yet, on the last day of our trip that is exactly where I found myself. We took the road from Managua, to Leon, to my abuelita's and mother's hometown El Sauce, a place I had heard about but never seen for myself.
When I stepped into my abuelita's house- slabs of concrete, chickens scattered, I found something I could not have found anywhere else, the beginning of our family's story. People who knew my abuelita, recounted stories that I had never heard before. It was difficult to imagine the small 5 foot, modest, elderly woman I knew selling cigarettes and nacatamales to men outside of a bar even with the disclaimer that this was before she became a Christian of course.
I felt humbled to think of all that my abuelita had sacrificed to ensure her family would have a better life; and how far we all had come. It made me want to prosper, to be a blessing to others, it made me hunger to be all that that I could be given all the privileges I have. They worked too hard, for too long, in the mundane and tedious for me to sit back and take the life I have for granted.
It has been said that we are our ancestors wildest dreams. Yes, and I believe that my life is the answer to my abuelita's prayers. She would pray one hour in the morning, and one hour at night naming each of her children and grandchildren. She would shut her eyes and raise her hands to heaven firmly believing that God heard her.
I would be remiss if I didn't state that this family story is not without its pain, its traumas, its detours and grief like any other family story. What I can say is that I am confident that the goodness of God covers it all and that by grace we are still standing resilient.
Nowadays its hard to believe in answered prayers or miracles, but I feel I am living proof, a manifestation of all she had asked God to provide for her family. Even through layers of war, migration, assimilation and integration of our family into a new country- it was there on that small porch, in that small town, I felt more connected to her story than ever before.
Coming back to the states, my phone was abuzz with a government shutdown and a raging immigration debate. To me this debate is personal, affecting people that still hope and dream about America as the land of opportunity, to obtain an education, to start a business, and build a life, that would not have been possible in the homeland. My abuelita, my mother, and the women in my family are prayer warriors and I cannot help but want to continue fighting and advocating for others both in prayer and in action to keep families together, protect children and carve a path forward for generations to come.
Learn more about immigration developments:
To learn more about dreamers and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) click here: unitedwedream.org/
Ain't I a child?
Do I not scrape my knees, when I fall?
Do I not wish upon stars?
Ain't I a child?
Do I not play pranks
Or pass notes in class?
Do I not have little brothers?
Or a little sister who waits for me at home.
Ain't I a child?
Do I not pretend I'm superman
And try and run as fast as I can.
Do I not play ball
Or dream of when I grow up...
Ain't a child?
Look at me, look at my face
Like yours at home, just the same
About: Inspired by Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman? speech delivered in 1851 at the
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio. Dedicated to the children who have died needlessly due to police brutality.