Race, Culture, Identity

Dr. King’s Final Climb

Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his final speech from a Memphis pulpit on April 3, 1968. He was assassinated one day later.  He knew, as Moses before him, that he would not taste deliverance before death. But like Moses on the mountaintop, he would proclaim its promise from afar. May we, too, look long and […]

The Hope of Remembering

In art class one day, I was attempting to paint a landscape with oil colors. I couldn’t get a particular area just right. It seemed off. I began to pull my canvas off the easel when my teacher stopped me. “What are you doing, Paula Frances?” “I’m going to start over. It doesn’t look right.” […]

Her Liberating Love Song

Mary’s Song  And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord      and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for he has been mindful     of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,      for the Mighty One has done great things for me—     holy is his name. […]

Unmasked

We wait under a warm October sun—in a long line of anxious and eager pretenders. Princesses, pirates, and Baby Yoda wiggle away in excitement as parents corral them back to their designated, socially distanced marks. In front of us stand a pair of brilliantly-costumed frappuccinos (pool noodles attached to headbands for straws = brilliant) and […]

Twisted

My high school mascot was a pretzel. I know. It gets worse. This—and middle-child status—explains a lot of my issues. On the upside, you won’t find my alma maters in the fray of mascot-related rhetoric lately making news. Ex: “You can eat us but you can’t beat us!” and rival schools trampling pretzels by the […]

America Looted The Black Body: (RIP George Floyd)

America . . .  Since our society’s conception You have looted the Black body. Take, rape, stripped us bare to our core, while you feast, prosper, stay safe, and ignore. All the blood you’ve shed, lives left dead, children unfed so that you live free in this claim of inheritance for liberty and justice for […]

Sowing Seed

Like most Black people, I know that racism is real.  I know the truth about the traumatic history of our people and the ongoing assaults on our dignity. I feel a sting from implicit, explicit bias, and each racist act. Yet I was unaware of how racism planted seeds that inflicted racial trauma, which exhausted […]

Engaging the Pulse of the Earth

Excerpt from Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God by Kaitlin B. Curtis Indigenous bodies are bodies that remember. We carry stories inside us—not just stories of oppression but  stories of liberation, of renewal, of survival. The sacred thing about being human is that no matter how hard we try to get rid of them, our […]

Thirsty

I used to be an underweight Jersey girl. So skinny I could knot my underpants. “Pero, que nina flaca,” complained my grandmother one day. I searched her eyes, looking for the remnants of weekend revelry. But Abuela’s rosy cheeks were scrubbed. Her eyes, sans makeup, were bright, eager to please. When sober, Abuela mended her […]

A Masterclass in Race. From a Black Girl

Mother God “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy Sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” ~Psalm 19:14 KJV Amen. Masterclass The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a masterclass as, a class taught by someone who has an expert knowledge or skill in a particular area. […]

I am a Threshold of Flesh and Blood

I was young when I first realized that my biracial existence inhabits liminal space.  We piled into the sticky church van, and left the Californian mountains where I’d spent a week at an Asian American Christian summer camp. It was my first experience at a summer camp, my first experience with a large group of […]

And You Will Hear Thunder

There were sleepless nights. Covers hiding eyes shut tight, palms clamped down over tangles of ears and hair, all to no avail. The summer storms sweeping over my midwestern childhood home would not be tamed. Lighting stole through shades, sheets and eyelids as I lay trembling in my bed. Night winds tore through our hickory […]