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Kansas City MO 64131

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Filtering by Tag: Black Lives Matter

WE ARE ALL WELCOME HERE

Cindy Maddera

Last night, Michael and I went to see U2's Joshua Tree Tour with Beck. I had scored some free tickets with seats way way way at the top of the stadium. I didn't care. I had never seen Beck perform live and I had already heard how amazing the Joshua Tree Tour was. It didn't matter that they all looked like ants. That's the thing about concerts, particularly those of this size and magnitude. They always manage to pull every soul in to praise. And it was beautiful. There was one moment when all the lights were turned off and the stadium became a sea of cell phone lights. From our vantage point, we could see it all and I started laughing and crying at the same time. Before Beck left the stage, he warned us that when U2 came out and started singing those first seven songs we would have feelings. He said chills will crawl up our arms and we would be filled with all of the feelings. 

Beck was not wrong. 

"We are all welcome here" Bono told us this last night. His words stick in my brain today, particularly after reading this morning's headlines. This country is starting to look more and more less welcoming. We have a President who condones white supremacy; in fact owes his presidency to white supremacists. He has issued a ban on Muslims, a ban on Transgendered in the military and an end to DACA, the program that protected immigrants brought here as children. Those immigrants are now at risk of being forcibly removed from the only home they have ever know. The Secretary of Education has rolled back Title IX which would withhold federal dollars to Universities who did not combat sexual harassment because Title IX was too harsh for the accuser. Trump has hired Eric Dreiband to lead the Justice's Civil Rights Division, a man notorious for fighting efforts to support Civil Rights. 

I have seen so many posts of outrage recently over the football players who take a knee during the National Anthem. Some of you get really really angry about this. I mean, my own mother made the comment about how "they should go back to where they came from" if they refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Except the 'they' whom she is referring to are Americans. They are young men who have taken to sitting down or taking a knee during the National Anthem as their peaceful protest against a government that does not support civil liberties for ALL Americans, a government that supports white supremacy and a country that does not value their lives.

But it causes you so much anger because they won't stand for a song. 

We are not all welcome here. 

SOME THINGS ON MY MIND

Cindy Maddera

There's a long list of chore related activities that I should have done over the holiday weekend, but instead I spent my time watching movies like Jurassic World and Mortdecai. I started a new book that was promised to be a "beach read" that is mindlessly entertaining. On the actual fourth, I went to a yoga in the park event at the Nelson that turned out to be the most patriotic yoga class I've ever attended. There was a lot of talk of how great it is to be an American (I do not disagree). Then Michael and I rode our scooters all over the place for the rest of the afternoon. 

First we rode over to a new place for lunch. Rye is now considered to be our new favorite, especially because our waiter went back to the kitchen to ask the chef how they make the meringue on their lemon meringue pie. I know how to make meringue, but this meringue was unlike any. It was almost like marshmallow fluff. I know now that it's a Swiss style of meringue and next weekend may just be a pie making weekend. After lunch, we rode over to REI just to look around (some things do not change). We ended up parking our scooters next to another scooter. The owner of that scooter was coming out just as we were taking our helmets off. We had a lovely time talking about scooters and engine sizes and the joys of riding. 

As we crossed the parking lot to head into the store, we noticed some people chatting around the cutest teardrop style camper. They had the back open so you could see the whole set up. We joined the conversation asking about things like space and air conditioning. I told the woman about this couple we ran into last year from Canada and how they were driving an un-air condition VW bus across the US. The woman said "Was it orange!?" I said "Yes!" Then she said "We know those people!!!" They had just spent a week camping with them. The world is so tiny. We talked with that couple for a while about Jeeps and trailers before we all finally made it into the store. 

Later on Michael found me looking at the dehydrated meals and I told him how every once in a while, Chris and I would each pick out a different packet and that's what we'd have for dinner one night. We picked out a meal to have for lunch some time and then I grabbed a bag of Moon Cheese off the shelf. I said "let's try this!" Any way, it turned out to be the best thing ever and possibly laced with heroin or crac or both. Michael can't stop talking about it and last night he looked up the patent on how it's made. He quickly determined that we most likely could not manufacture our own Moon Cheese and will be forced to purchase this deliciously weird snack. Michael said that we should never try heroin together.

As I'm typing all of this, my thoughts move back around to my very patriotic yoga class where there was an emphasis on being grateful to live in this wonderful, free country. The mix of it all though...the yoga in the park, the carefree scooter rides, fucking Moon Cheese....rings out as so grossly privileged particularly when you wake up the next day to news of yet another story about white police officers shooting a black man. I wonder if journalists just have a fill in the blank form letter written up by now for these things. They just erase the names and replace with new names. Alton Sterling was the 154th black man killed by police this year. He was pinned to the ground when he was shot. You're an idiot if you think the cop acted in self defense. You're blind and delusional if you do not see that this country has some seriously gaping wounds infected with gangrenous racism. 

If you say racist things, if you support candidates who incite racism, you are part of the infection. If you see racist behavior and do not step up and say something or at the very least make it known that you are watching, you are part of the infection.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others - Philippians 2:4 

The world is really so very tiny. 

 

WE DON'T DESERVE NICE THING

Cindy Maddera

I started listening to The Problem We All Live With on This American Life recently. I haven't been able to listen to the whole thing and there's two parts to it, but it's about education and desegregation. The first story focuses on Normandy High School. Normandy is part of the school district where Michael Brown went to school in Ferguson MO. They started the show with a clip from one of the news affiliates taken on the day of Michael Brown's death. In that clip you can hear Michael's mother, Lesley McSpadden, screaming at the police, telling them that her son had just graduated from high school. "Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to finish high school?"  You can hear everything, all of it, in her voice and all I want to do is put my arms around that woman and just hold her in hopes that she finds some little tiny bit of comfort. Because how could she ever be comforted? How can she ever not have a constant ache from losing her child? But that's not the point of the story.

The story is about poor education in poor neighborhoods. It's about a high school doing so poorly, it loses it's accreditation which gives those students the option to bus to a better school district. The Normandy District chose a school thirty miles away when they had a perfectly good high school in Clayton county, five miles away. The reason is simple. Make it harder to get to the better school and students will opt to stay at Normandy High. A thousand students took their chances with the school thirty miles away, Francis Howell. When the court ruling came that these children would be bused to Francis Howell, that community (85% white) held a public forum. The local NPR station recorded that forum and as they played back excerpts of the people voicing their concerns about Normandy students being bused in, I felt my stomach turn. One woman said her concerns had nothing to do with race even while she listed stereotypical fears.  Busing in these black children would be the equivalent to busing in criminals. What was going to keep their children safe from guns and drugs? 

I could not believe how these people were speaking about children who just wanted a better education. I could not believe how short sighted these people were being, how a better education is a start to ending the poverty/crime circle. God! Even terrorists know this. It's why they target schools all the time. It's naive to think that segregation ended in 1954 with Brown vs Board of Education. America's public schools are segregated by race and poverty. In fact about 48% of public school children in this country are poor.  But again...poverty is a whole other hot mess. We have a serious racial divide in this country that has many of us beating our heads against the wall on how to bridge that divide. Yes...a better education is one way. All of the children in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are deserving of a good education.  But also, white kids need to be in school with non white kids and vice versa. This is how you teach kids the beauty of diversity. Make them interact with each other. How else are they going to learn to interact with each other as adults? 

Some might say that I have no right to say anything about how kids should and should not be educated. I do not have children of my own in those schools systems. I don't know what it's like. Blah blah blah. As a tax paying citizen I have every right to question the lack of education we are providing for our future tax paying citizens, our future voting tax paying citizens.  Many studies have shown a direct correlation between education attainment and incarceration rates. More than half of state inmates failed to complete high school. We could save the country billions of dollars in crime related costs just by providing kids with a better education and giving them an incentive to get that education. It's called making America the best country in the world as opposed to the mediocre one we have become. 

  

BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM, SORT OF

Cindy Maddera

My brain is clogged up with science talks and all my thoughts and feelings of being in Portland. The good news is that I'm not going any where for a while, so I have plenty of time to process all of it. In the meantime, I have unpacked my suitcase, finished the laundry, dusted the house and uploaded over three thousand pictures to Amazon. I'm looking into an external hard drive before I delete them all from this computer. I'm acclimating. By acclimating, I mean I'm going through the motions of being back to normal and I'm relying on someone else to think and make decisions for me.  Michael determined the meal plan for this week and made the grocery list. He's done a really good job. Actually, I think he's just happy that he kept everyone alive while I was gone. Four chickens, one cat and one dog is a lot.

I realized at one point yesterday that it's been one year since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO. Todd and I had several discussions on race while I was visiting him. None of those conversations ended with any kind of answer. I thought that things would improve, that Michael Brown would be the tragedy that would make people wake up and pull it together. Then I thought that things only seemed to be worse. Todd brought up a really good point about this. He said that it's because we have instant knowledge of what is happening. He's right. Everyone has a cell phone with a camera on it. It's not that there's been this sudden increase in violence against blacks by police. This is a problem that has been going on for way longer than it should be.  The reason it looks like more is only because I've finally opened my eyes to it. 

Life isn't fair. We cannot change the cards we are dealt. These are sayings that we have all heard.  But what about justice. Life shouldn't be unjust. Life shouldn't be about constantly watching your back because the people who are supposed to protect and serve apparently took an oath to protect and serve only white people. I do not want my tax dollars being spent on salaries for those kinds of police officers. All lives matter. Race isn't a reason to treat this person better than the other. Race is the thing that makes each of us unique and beautiful. Race contains our histories and is something to be proud of.  Lately, I'm not so proud of my own race. It's like we've just kept this perpetual ball of anger, hate and discrimination rolling throughout history. 

I don't want to be part of the generation that stops that ball from rolling on because the ball should have been stopped generations ago by those who came before me. We have self driving cars. We walk around with tiny computers in our pockets. We've eradicated smallpox for God's sake. It's long past time to eradicate discrimination based on race or anything for that matter.  Except we haven't. It's been left up to us to stop that perpetual ball of anger, hate and discrimination from rolling any further. By now that ball is too large and moving too fast for me to stop it alone. So I'm asking help from you guys. Do you think we could all maybe work together on this?