Hope & Responsibility: Teaching Year #33

The beginning of a new school year always fills me with hope. What will I learn? Which students will catch fire from one of the authors we read? Whose writing will grow into clarity and beauty? After last year’s difficult and uncertain school year, I am far more hopeful about the one that begins, forContinue reading “Hope & Responsibility: Teaching Year #33”

LGBTQ Refugees Attacked Again in Block 13 – Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

It is hard to even find words for the suffering of LGBTQ refugees in Block 13, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. For more than two years, they have been attacked by local people, other refugees, even the security forces charged with protecting them. Last night, August 16, 2021, several of their shelters were set afire. Fortunately,Continue reading “LGBTQ Refugees Attacked Again in Block 13 – Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya”

The Humility of Aging

Aging requires an honesty almost unknown in other stages of life. It requires an honesty comfortable with humility. Yet, few of us are comfortable with humility. The humility of aging calls for a new relationship with one’s own body, and something of a new relationship with younger people. This humility has a kind of internalContinue reading “The Humility of Aging”

Why We Need Stonewall Today

“That night, the police ran from us, and it was amazing.“— a participant describing the first night of the uprising. June 28, 1969 We need the Stonewall Uprising today because it teaches us three essential truths: diversity, weakness, and power. The Stonewall Uprising shows us the need for diversity in groups seeking social change. ItContinue reading “Why We Need Stonewall Today”

The Empathy School: We Don’t Choose Where We’re Born

This is the fifth in an occasional series on empathy, titled The Empathy School. I was born in a place I did not choose. So were you. So were we all. None of us chooses where we’re born, to whom we’re born, or when we’re born. Call it random, God’s will, chance, luck, or curse,Continue reading “The Empathy School: We Don’t Choose Where We’re Born”

Refugees Deserve Refuge: Isa and Deo – Free Block 13 – Week of Action

Refugees face unimaginable suffering. And LGBTQ+ refugees face more than most. As many of my readers know, Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, is one of the largest refugee camps in the world. It holds more than 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from various African countries. The LGBTQ+ refugees there have faced savage violence forContinue reading “Refugees Deserve Refuge: Isa and Deo – Free Block 13 – Week of Action”

Dear You: A Black Husband and Father Reflects on Empathy – by Jimmy Friday

This is the fourth in a series of reflections called The Empathy School: reflections on Empathy in today’s world. I’m deeply grateful to my friend, Jimmy Friday, for sharing his thoughts here. This is the third time Jimmy’s words have spoken up from my blog. Scroll back to read more of his thoughts. Dear You:Continue reading “Dear You: A Black Husband and Father Reflects on Empathy – by Jimmy Friday”

History & Hope: Philip C. Kolin’s Poetry Collection “Delta Tears”

Few poets can weave history and hope together with surprising poetic language. But Philip C. Kolin is that rare poet. In Delta Tears, from Main Street Rag Publishing, he succeeds. He has published over forty scholarly books and ten poetry collections in his long career, now as Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English at the UniversityContinue reading “History & Hope: Philip C. Kolin’s Poetry Collection “Delta Tears””

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”