King

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.” – Martin Luther King, Jr, in his sermon “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967…

Broken

Sometimes we wake up to the deep strangeness of our lives and it threatens to wreck everything Two tiny white lizard eggs appeared in the latch of the door right where the sun comes through And I, quick-fingered and careless, sent them flying to the ground as soon as I tried to gather them Somehow…

A Letter to the Homeland After Various Tragedies

July 18, 2013 America, are we becoming more real? Will we know pain And therefore notice More sharply the unnamed colors In the sunset over the mountains Or the gleam of the local deli’s countertop And pause in wonder At the beauty and ache of it all? Our children dying Huddled  together and terrified, We…

Thoughts on Paris and Beirut

I felt terrible, visceral sorrow when hearing about the attacks in Paris and Beirut, both cities I have been lucky enough to visit. I understand why many American/Western people react more strongly to the attacks in Paris, for various reasons: how many people have gone there or have friends and family who have visited (just count how many…

Cultural Rights as Human Rights

Stone Town, Zanzibar I. Seeking out the spirit of human rights Three weeks ago I spent seven days with artists, cultural activists, and human rights advocates from sixteen African countries in a workshop on human rights as a part of the ArtWatch Africa project. It has taken time for me to process the experience. The collective intellect,…

Instagram*, Hidden Costs, and the Price of Doing What’s Right

It’s been a hard week to be living in a foreign country without the support of family and close friends. Not someone who is easily shaken up, I was a bit surprised at how much I’ve wept since the shootings last Friday in Connecticut. When I’m on the phone with people from home I’m okay,…

A Number of Disturbing Events

a poem comprised of quotes from the third and final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney what are our priorities? various forms of chaos isn’t there a risk? the answer is yes they have to understand this can’t go on, that’s why we’re going to keep on pressing attacking me is not an…

Live from Occupy Wall Street

May Day, 2012. I have always enjoyed the fact that my birthday falls on May Day. In my younger years, I felt that it carried both reason and resonance, setting the tone for a life I hoped would be marked by the hippie spirit of the pagan flower and fertility rituals that inspired the holiday. That…

These Days

That will be $207, the woman at the counter says, and what a discount. Divorces use to run a lot higher, but with the economy what it is these days (and love what it isn’t) the rates sure have gone down, plummeted really. Why, I paid $650 when I divorced Tom, and that was contested…

Pick a Side: Kony 2012 and the problem of Good vs. Evil

We all know who Joseph Kony is now. Does it matter how and why? And what does it say about us that it took Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video to get us here?  Social media and identity A few days ago I watched Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 video and felt a strong reaction swell within…

Show Me Where It Hurts

                Three weeks in a row, after we have made the obligatory trips to Café du Monde and the French Quarter, I drive visitors to the Lower Ninth Ward to see the empty lots and abandoned homes.

For Salma

The hardest part about traveling is surely the friends you leave behind. Today I learned from my dear friend Brian that Salma, our neighbor and friend in Bagamoyo, Tanzania in 2007, died sometime in the past two years due to complications during a botched surgery. Salma was one of the two “house girls” that lived with…

New Orleans: A Developing Country in America?

“This isn’t America. New Orleans is like a developing country.” In the four weeks I’ve lived in New Orleans, I’ve heard this statement from nearly ten different people. Glancing around at the Wal-Marts, the boutique frozen yogurt shops, the SUVs, and the stately houses on St. Charles Ave., it’s been hard for me believe the…

A New Look at Need: Microfinance from Tanzania to New Orleans

This post first appeared on the Kiva Fellows Blog at fellowsblog.kiva.org on Oct. 1, 2011. In 2009 when I told friends and family I was moving to Tanzania to study international development and to work for Kiva in the field of microfinance, or the furnishing of small loans to the working poor, we all had…

Do Not Be Daunted

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. -Talmud A Photo Essay of New Orleans