31 January, 2011

Hello my lovely friends! I just have a simple request: please pray for me, as I am taking my test tomorrow! I will let you all know how it goes!

From Atlanta, with Love

27 January, 2011

"We each have a dream, a vision of life that corresponds to our convictions, embodies our uniqueness, and expresses what is life-giving within us. Whether altruistic or ignoble, the dream gives definition to our lives, influences the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the words we speak. Daily we make choices that are either consistent with or contrary to our vision. A life of integrity is born of fidelity to the dream."
- Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel
Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for his beautiful dream for America. As a part of my Mission Year, I have been encouraged to develop my own dream for this world, to give words to my vision. And I want to share that vision with you...

My dream world is full of urban gardens and small farms. Everyone is able to grow their own food, or can receive food from those who have grown extra. People are willing to share their excess with others. No one is hungry.

My dream world is full of people who own their own home with an extra room. No one is taken advantage of through paying rent. Extra rooms are shared with those who don't have a home of their own. Hospitality is a priority. No one is homeless.

My dream world is full of people who own their own land or small business. Labor is not bought and sold as a commodity, but everybody is productive. People own what they create, and therefore have means to a stable income. No one is poor.

My dream world is full of people who are unified in community. They hold each other accountable. No one is abused by the criminal justice system. People bring their concerns, needs, and struggles to one another and work together to relieve them. No one is left alone.

My dream world is full of people who recycle, use renewable energy sources, and take good care of the earth. God's creation is as beautiful and productive as it is meant to be. No one is left un-romanced by God.

This is my dream for the world. What's yours?

24 January, 2011

I am sad to report that I have not yet taken the GRE! The night before my test, Atlanta was met with six inches of snow. The entire city closed down and the test was cancelled. The snow quickly turned to ice, causing more cancellations. I was home from work for an entire week! It was so much fun to play in the snow and visit our neighbors, who all thought we were crazy for being out in the cold. My test has been rescheduled for February 1st, which is good because it gives me more time to study, though I'm ready to just get it over with!

To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my roommates attended a commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. After the service, we noticed the street was blocked off and there were a bunch of people standing around. We asked someone what was going on and they explained that there would be a march from the center of the city to Dr. King’s grave. They told us we could be in the march if we wanted, pointed to some buses, and told us to get on if we wanted to participate. My roommates and I looked at each other and, with a consensus of hey, why not?, we decided to board the bus. After a few minutes of waiting, the bus set off, escorted by police cars with their sirens on. They let us off in the middle of an empty street, and I assumed more buses would soon come to drop people off, and the area would soon be full of people. We convened with a small group of people who were already waiting there. No more busses came and after a few minutes, a few groups with big banners closed in behind us; not only were we at the very front of the march, but no more people were coming to join us. After a few more minutes of waiting, we looked around and started to recognize the people we were standing with: Martin Luther King III, Kasim Reed (Atlanta’s mayor), Bernice King (Dr. King’s daughter), the Chief of Police, and many more of the speakers from earlier that day. Standing behind the Mayor was a body guard, and standing behind the body guard was my roommate Maureen, and I next to her. We started wondering, are we allowed to be here?? But before we could wonder for too long, the march began. We linked arms and started marching down Peachtree Street. We began to see hundreds of people who had crowded on the sidewalks to watch the march. People were taking pictures, clapping, and waving, and we were marching, pretending we were supposed to be there and knew what we were doing. It was surreal. We marched for what seemed like hours, stopping every few blocks for photographs. At the end of the march, we simply walked to our car and went home, the whole time asking each other, what just happened??

For all official purposes, we weren’t supposed to be there. But in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., we needed to be there. Yes, Dr. King fought for Blacks to have equal rights, but he fought for much more than that. He fought for racial reconciliation. He fought so that “little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as brothers and sisters.” He fought so Blacks and Whites could march for freedom together. But if it hadn’t been for me and three of my white roommates, there would have been no whites marching with those influential people. We were the only ones. Segregation still exists, though it looks much different today. Well I am here to tell you that we cannot stand for that! Blacks used to force themselves into white lunch counters and bus seats and today, I will force myself into a black neighborhood and march, regardless of if others think I am supposed to be there or not. I will honor Dr. King and the beautiful vision he had for this nation. Will you?

Bernice King, MLK III, Kasim Reed and others.
My roommates and I were standing right behind those umbrellas.