Tag Archive: Oakland

“An Obnoxious Peace”

Image from Urban Cusp, taken in Baltimore on April 23, 2015

Image from Urban Cusp, taken in Baltimore on April 23, 2015

Preached April 26, 2015 at Rockefeller Chapel, Chicago IL, dedicated to the people of Baltimore.

In the days following the Michael Brown verdict, that cold Thanksgiving week, there emerged a debate among my friends regarding the uprisings happening in my hometown and around the country. I called it the debate of the Kings. That is, my friends would quote these two Kings in defense of their positions.

On the one hand was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, I am still convinced that nonviolence is both the most practically sound and morally excellent way to grapple with the age-old problem of racial injustice.”

On the other hand was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who said in 1966: “I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for Black people. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.

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Christmas values – day 3: peace

 I am sad about the Christmas tree in Jack London Square.

I have taken my niece to see it newly lit.

I have wandered the pop-up shops and wished I could afford to shop at them.

I have basked in the joy of Christmas that I’m lucky enough to experience because my family is whole and loving and enjoys being together.

And maybe I’ve been a bad ally, because I’ve really enjoyed having a few days where I only had to work a few hours a day and otherwise enjoy Christmas music and turkey and cake with my parents who are still mostly healthy and still very much with me.

If you’re not from Oakland, you may have missed the news.

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This bridge called my back in this new civil rights movement moment

Navigating “not Black or White” and “Nonviolent but not non-violent” as an ally and activist

I suspect every woman of color in America has at multiple points felt that Donna Kate Rushin wrote the Bridge poem for her. As I wonder whether the bonds of friendship with my radical anarchist friends of color will hold and if the bonds of friendship with my White liberal friends will hold, I caution myself not to be so melodramatic as to think my experience is anywhere near as painful as hers, but I’m so grateful she wrote it:

 

In part, it reads,

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks
To the ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the
Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends’ parents…  

Then
I’ve got to explain myself
To everybody  

I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N. 

I’m not Black. (more…)

“Things taken: Finding Healing on foreign soil this Thanksgiving”

18th annual Berkeley Multifaith Thanksgiving Service

Northbrae Community Church, host

Message by Sandhya Jha, Director of the Oakland Peace Center and Director of Interfaith Programs at East Bay Housing Organizations

 

It is a real honor to be here this evening. I have worked with a number of you on affordable housing issues in Berkeley, where the faith community is deeply engaged. But I want to offer a word of confession this evening in relationship to my work with the Oakland Peace Center.

 

When the Oakland Peace Center was launched three years ago, I traveled across the country to speak, and wherever I went, I explained, “This is the Oakland Peace Center, not the Berkeley Peace Center.” And from Nashville to New Orleans to Chicago to right here in the Bay Area, people knew what I meant by that: we were about stopping people from shooting people in the street, and we were about ending the school-to-prison pipeline that punishes Black and Brown children much more than White children and we were about creating equity and justice and ending disparities. That was Oakland peace. Berkeley peace, to me, was about banning the bomb and saving the whales. (I told you this was a confession.)

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A pastor’s lament: 60 years later, and we still don’t give a s*** about each other

Last night as we waited for the Darren Wilson verdict to return, I went to the right place: I went downtown, where faith leaders and anarchists and socialists and nonviolent youth movement leaders and queer activists of all races had convened because we needed to be a public witness but more than that, we needed to be with each other.

Then I grabbed dinner and grieved and processed with a White clergy friend who is also family-of-choice.

My mistake was falling down the rabbit hole of facebook and twitter.

What an echo chamber. And what a heartbreaking reminder that we have no f***ing idea about each other’s lives and no interest in walking in one another’s shoes.

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Oakland, you’re the hot chick now:

Stop letting your boyfriends treat you like you’re lucky to be with them!

Please forgive the heteronormative nature of the following piece.

If you read my blog posts regularly, you know a few things about me: I’ve been the fat chick and I’ve been the hot chick. I’ve been with guys who treat me well and I’ve been with guys who have conveyed to me that they’re slumming it a little. (Added note: I’ve found that guys don’t tend to treat me better or worse based on my size; I just tend to let them treat me badly when I don’t realize that I’m a person worthy of being treated well regardless of size.)

At the last city council meeting I attended, I found myself thinking, “whoa–there are a lot of developers these days who know that Oakland’s the hot chick, AND they know she hasn’t figured it out yet! That’s gonna get messy!”

 

So, based on my learnings from the dating world, here is my contribution to the upcoming surge in high-end development in Oakland. It’s really addressed specifically to city council, the brains of the incredibly hot chick that is Oakland.

 

Dear Oakland: (more…)

Faith, fast food and the paddy wagon

 

photographs by Brooke Anderson: http://www.movementphotographer.com/

photo by Brooke Anderson

photo by Brooke Anderson

My father worries that if I ever try to go into politics, my arrest will ruin my career. “Not in Oakland,” I told him consolingly. “Ah yes,” he said; “Jerry Brown is from Oakland.” Neither of us is sure Jerry Brown’s been arrested for anything, but he remembered that I live in the city of Governor Moonbeam (and the Black Panthers, but I’m not sure my father knows who they are).

So yes, that’s me getting arrested by an officer who clearly felt that there might be some actual crimes he could be solving instead of this silliness, but the officers were kind to us and we were all released quickly.

It’s pretty silly to call me brave for risking arrest this past Thursday: my part-time paid job told me that as long as I could make up the hours, I was welcome to follow my conscience. There were lawyers lined up to bail me out and to try to get my record expunged. If I receive a fine, I’ll find the money somehow. And also, I was probably going to get treated well because cops hate arresting pastors. An officer friend of mine said he always tries to avoid arresting pastors because whenever he shows up in the news arresting a pastor, he gets really lousy coffee at his favorite coffee shop for a week afterwards. (more…)