The Empathy School: Frederick Douglass Still Teaches Us

This is the third in a series of reflections on empathy, The Empathy School. The series will be completed in the Summer of 2021. My American Literature students had just finished discussing a particularly brutal section of The Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass. This section detailed how, after the death of one ofContinue reading “The Empathy School: Frederick Douglass Still Teaches Us”

The Empathy School: Steven Leyva Sees Literature as Empathy’s Best Teacher

This is the second part of an occasional series on empathy. Steven Leyva is a poet and professor at the University of Baltimore. He is the author of The Understudy’s Handbook and he is my friend. The other day, I was meditating on the reality that my son and I will never attend the sameContinue reading “The Empathy School: Steven Leyva Sees Literature as Empathy’s Best Teacher”

Everybody Can Serve: MLK Day 2021

Dr. King understood one of Christianity’s most obvious and challenging convictions: the call to serve. In a world where greatness is usually marked by power, influence, and money, Dr. King knew greatness comes from serving others. In fact, one who really takes the call to serve seriously, doesn’t get concerned with greatness at all. OnContinue reading “Everybody Can Serve: MLK Day 2021”

The Empathy School: The Bridge

This is the first in an occasional series about empathy that will be posted here throughout the first half of 2021. Several guest poets and writers will add their ideas on empathy as the series unfolds. I have a distinct memory of my mother teaching me empathy without saying the word. I was probably aboutContinue reading “The Empathy School: The Bridge”

2021: Only Better If We Make It So

My American Literature students are struck my many of Dr. King’s ideas in “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” But one almost always gets their attention. It’s his reflection on the neutrality of time. In one part of the “Letter,” Dr. King remembers a white person writing to him, telling him it’s clear that Black people willContinue reading “2021: Only Better If We Make It So”

A Surprising Darkness

We are living through dark days. Not just the darkest days of the calendar year, but deeply, truly, humanly, these are dark days. The calendar tells us the days will get darker until the Winter Solstice on December twenty-first. So the days between today, December thirteenth, and the twenty-first, will get increasingly darker. The darkestContinue reading “A Surprising Darkness”

2020 Robert L. Giron Global Humanities Lecture: Literature Consoles & Confronts

2020 Robert L. Giron Global Humanities LectureMontgomery College, Takoma Park, Maryland Literature Consoles & Confronts:Poetry Making a Way for JusticeA reading from Raising King Joseph RossNovember 18, 2020 I am very happy to join you today. I want to thanks Professors Cinder Cooper Barnes and Carol Moore for their kind invitation. I am also gratefulContinue reading “2020 Robert L. Giron Global Humanities Lecture: Literature Consoles & Confronts”

Chaos or Community?

The election is over and the United States will, I think, have a new president. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris earned roughly 75 million votes and the Trump/Pence ticket earned 70 million. More people voted than ever and the Biden/Harris ticket received more votes than any president and vice-president in U.S. history. it is timeContinue reading “Chaos or Community?”

Voice & Silence

We are living in some difficult days. Recently, the United States recorded 200,000 deaths from Covid-19. The world is close to passing one million deaths from this deadly virus. Black people suffer the continual onslaught of police violence. LGBTIQ refugees continue to suffer in the massive Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Migrants and refugees areContinue reading “Voice & Silence”