Deep Travel

Will Fuller, Kairos-Milwaukie UC

Every summer for the past four years, my wife and I have traveled by car to a small city in Quebec, Canada to visit our son’s family.  This year, as we traveled I was reading a book by Tony Hiss, In Motion.  This book explores

making use of an ancient, innate, ground-shifting variant of ordinary waking consciousness that we can … call Deep Travel. … It can, among many effects, give…the sense that even a long-familiar route…exists within such a fullness of brand-new or at least new-to-me information and questions that I wonder how I ever had the capacity to exclude them from consideration (p. 9)

In short, the very act of travel can bring a deep appreciation of the transcendent splendor that surrounds us.  We see our old world with fresh, new eyes.  In that transcendence, we may gain a glimpse of the One in whose Name we call for peace and justice

in the rimrock land of eastern Oregon

 

in the prairie preserves of Illinois

 

in the rushing rivers of Quebec’s Laurentian Shield

 

in a friendly Canadian public pool

 

in the Nevada desert, where Latino workers walk from a shantytown across the tracks to work in the luxury casino resorts on the other side

 

in Montana’s mountains, where tough Harley bikers kneel before chipmunks

 

in Yellowstone National Park, where pilgrims from all over the world, speaking a Babel of languages, stand in awe before the old, faithful grandeur of Creation

 

and in all the places we travel on life’s journey.

 

Justice For Trayvon Martin

re-posted from the Southern Poverty Law Center
By Richard Cohen, President
Walking While Black is Still a Crime
Walking while black — merely being black — still seems to be a crime in this country.

That certainly seems to be the moral of the tragedy in Sanford, Fla. From the news reports we’ve seen, George Zimmerman appears to have concluded that young Trayvon Martin was “suspicious” based on nothing more than his race and the fact that Trayvon was walking in Zimmerman’s neighborhood.

Sadly, such assumptions are made about black youth every day. And they play out in a million disastrous ways.

They play out in schools across the country, where black youth receive far more discipline referrals than their white counterparts for similar kinds of minor misbehavior. They’re apparent in the statistics that show black youths are much more likely to be stopped by police and to be arrested than their white peers for similar offenses.

Black youth are seen as bad kids — “combatants,” in the words of one police chief whose officers routinely mace school children as a means of discipline.

Just this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center continued its fight against such assumptions, testifying in Miami at a U.S. Department of Justice hearing on issues of violence against children.

Trayvon represents the hundreds of thousands of African-American men and boys in Florida who are viewed by our criminal and juvenile justice system as sub-human and disposable.

Sub-human. Disposable. Even in the larger world.

Trayvon was returning from buying candy and iced tea at a nearby convenience store, walking through a gated community in Sanford where his father was staying. He was presumed to be up to no good.

His assailant, George Zimmerman, has been presumed by local police to have acted in self-defense.

It’s called a double standard.

And it’s having a disastrous impact on the young people of color in our country.

In Trayvon’s name, we must do better.

Causa

Causa was founded in the fall of 1995 by farmworkers, immigrants and allies in order to defeat anti-immigrant ballot measures prepared for circulation to Oregon voters. Since 1995, Causa has defeated dozens of anti-immigrant bills, including attempts to pass E-verify, restrict bilingual education, reduce needed services for low-income immigrant families, and Arizona-style legislation. From 2009-2011 Causa expanded our work to advocate for statewide policies that positively affect Latino immigrant communities in Oregon such as health equity, affordable housing, and jobs and the economy. (Source: Causa website)

400 people attended Causa’s 14th Annual Statewide Immigrant Action Day in Salem on Saturday, January 21 to highlight:

Restoring driver’s licenses for all in Oregon

Stopping local law enforcement collaboration with ICE

How to get involved with our children’s education

Making your voice heard in elections

Equality for all members of our community

On January 24, Causa and a coalition of Eugene churches (including First Congregational UCC) and community groups hosted 350 guests a second annual Leaders Assembly. The issues addressed, to the attention of special guests from city, county, and state government, were a driver’s license restoration for all qualified Oregon residents and restoration of county funding for Centro LatinoAmericano in Eugene.

In 2005, the federal government passed the Real I.D. Act. In 2007, Governor Kulongoski followed by passing an order to get the Oregon driver’s license to meet the federal standard. This requires people to provide a birth certificate and documentation of legal status to renew or obtain a driver’s license. By the end of 2012, most of the immigrant community will be without a legal driver’s license. This is a losing situation for all—drivers, insurance companies, state licensing revenue, farmers and related industry, and certainly undocumented people who must work, go to the grocery or doctor, and take their children to school.

Gov. Kitzhaber has taken up this issue and will pursue passage of the Safer Roads Act to restore a driver’s-license-only for eligible drivers.

Centro LatinoAmericano, the largest and most established community-based organization in Lane County (and the southern Willamette Valley) serving the needs of low-income individuals and families, suffered drastic funding cuts from Lane County in June of 2011. This leaves poor citizens with fewer resources (e.g., heat assistance, language barrier assistance) to help them become self-reliant.

Currently, anti-immigrant groups with the support of Oregon State Representative Kim Thatcher (R), Oregon State Representative Jeff Barker (D) and others are preparing to introduce House Bill 4052 to force state agencies in Oregon to use the flawed E-verify system to “verify employment eligibility of applicants.” E-Verify, an Internet-based computer database run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has a troubled history that would spell disaster for Oregonians and Oregon’s struggling budget. Readers can take action on this and other Causa issues by checking the website: http://causaoregon.org


Brenda Kame’enui
First Congregational Church
Eugene, Oregon

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