I’ve been thinking recently about how it’s going to feel turning 20 this year, especially now and in Baltimore – a city standing at a crossroad with some big decisions to make after an unsettling spring. And, I’m also wondering what it’s going to be like on the West Side after having really come of age in the heart of East Baltimore.
This month, as a nation, we will commemorate a significant anniversary of freedom. June 19th, Juneteenth 2015, will mark 150 years since our country abandoned the practice of enslaving African people, thus ending two centuries of forced migration, uncompensated labor, and a myriad of other ills and inequities that could only persist if all people are not free.
“Everything is on the line. Know it or not, our very survival hangs in the balance. With a few meager possessions, we hurry out the door running to an unknown destiny.” The question is, “Can we get there from here?”
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. “Redemption Song” – Bob Marley
Within four days, this single hashtag had been tweeted an astounding 1.2 million times.
We begin every new session at Caroline Center with a reading of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Journey.” It’s the ending of the poem, this last stanza, I think, that really gets to people.
When Julio Sabetta answered the phone, more than likely he was not expecting to hear the voice of Pope Francis saying, “This is Father Bergoglio. I would like to speak with (your wife) Jacqueline Lisbona.” But, the Pope was doing something that is becoming familiar in the eyes of the world – living his faith outright in a deeply personal way and leading by example, with humility. A religious matter had been troubling Ms. Lisbona, she had reached out to Pope Francis, and he heard her and responded. This is the “Francis Factor.”
The Julie Gold song “From a Distance” has long been a favorite of mine. And, as two strikingly different events converge this year – the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and a rare meet-up in our own Milky Way galaxy of two unique, yet equally impressive entities, a spectacular gas cloud and an immense black hole with the mass of four million suns, Gold’s lyrics give us pause for thought...