Sunday, October 30, 2016

#nofilter



Once again,
I play the fool
on the field
of love.

I wish
I could turn off
my filters
and tell you
how I feel.

But the rose of rejection
reminds me
that you won’t return
my sentiments.

I will let my words
linger
unfiltered
for like-hearted
souls in the digital abyss.

I like you,
for
you are the dawn
to my midnight.

I adjust the blue
buddy filter
over my glasses
and let my benign
half-smile
camouflage
my desire
to be more.

Friday, July 22, 2016

To My Friends Who Are Not Yet Awake

I watch
you sleeping peacefully
waiting
to welcome
you to the world.

I was jarred
to consciousness
against my will
years ago
and I wanted
the journey
to be more gentle
for you.

I tiptoed around you,
reading to greater consciousness:
the history of America,
the desire of each incoming immigration wave
to find a level above
Black people;
racism in the church,
even what it is like to wake up
White.

I hoped you would hear
the rustle
of the pages
and join me.

I grew fearful
when the shouts
outside the window
"All lives matter"
"That's what thugs get"
were repeated
In your nighttime sleep talk.

I was frustrated
when you didn't stir
while the TV
recounted the violence
of days,
weeks,
and years.

I wanted the hashtags
to brand you
the way they remain
with me.

My voice pleaded
for you to join me
in prayer,
but you rolled
to the other side.

I laid, frozen,
pretending to sleep again.

I thought if I quieted
all other sound
that you would hear
the roar of my silence,
the unspeakable weight
of grief.

 I was wrong again.
It is not my
silence, but yours
that is deafening.

When my resolve breaks,
And I begin to sob,
I can't help but think
that if my life
Mattered
that you would say



Something.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Reflecting Pools

The thought for this poem came before the event in McKinney, TX, but helped me realize that it is a topic that is still relevant.

Pools demand more of me
than my recreational participation.

They force me to recall
the brethren symbols of privilege
that cast a shadow over summer.
           
On Lafayette Street,
adorned with a high,
wooden red fence,
splashing and laughing
could be heard
during my walk to the library.

The entrance to those pleasures eluded me,
a keyhole the only bridge
between me and the peach flashes
playing on the other side.

Camp Shadyrest
was stacked with trees and children,
I was knocked
into deep waters
by an unseen peer.

"Help!"
I pleaded,
panicking,
fighting to remember
to be calm and kick.

With rescue,
came reprimand,
for swimming
without the correct bracelet
and a time out on the sideline.

A friend's backyard
pool promised
safety, simplicity -
until the day her dad
joined us.

An invitation
to swim
between his legs
as part of a three player game
made me feel awkward and ashamed
for not saying no, thank you.

I was afraid to disappoint,
to lose the access
to summer frivolity-
but what did access matter
when the water was polluted?

A Light in the Darkness

My brother was mugged
outside
our house
when we were teenagers.

I pictured the scene as he described it:
a handgun,
looming large
in the darkness.

A request for a wallet.

A hasty handover
to return to safety.

We installed a light
to alert us of passerby,
to startle some
nefarious person
into thinking we were home,
and we were watching.

The light does not protect
against the fear
that it will happen again.

The light does not banish
the dream I have
standing curbside,
present and powerless
to save him
unless I sacrifice myself.

Friday, June 12, 2015

NCORE 2015: Representations Matter: Serving Native Students in Higher Education

NCORE Keynote #2: Dr. Adrienne Keene of the blog Native Appropriations

There are 566 recognized tribes in America, but Native peoples are still seen as part of America's historic past. Not part of the modern dialogue at all.

Native students believe the biggest problem facing them is stereotypes. When showed stereotypical Native representations, European American childrens' self-esteem increased. Native students' perception of themselves dropped compared to students who were not shown the images. There have only been 3 Native Americans on television in 20 years of media data.

Less than 1% of Native students attend college. For every 100 who enter 9th grade, 48 graduate, 20 attend post-secondary institutions, and 1 will graduate from college. 1 in 7,000 will receive a post-BA degree.

The purpose of education should be breaking stereotypes. Educating others about colonialism, modern, positive representations of Native peoples. 

When we think about connecting with Native students, have to answer these questions:

Whose land are you on? -Need to recognize the owners of the land.

Who are your Native students? -Where are they from? What are there tribal affiliations?

How are you recruiting Native students? -Are you returning every year? 

Are there supports in place for them at your institution?

How are Native peoples represented in class?

Sunday, May 31, 2015

NCORE2015: Being an UndocuAlly

What does it take to be an ally to undocumented students?


1. Make sure you're knowledgeable and not misinformed.

-Undocumented students can go to college!

-Be aware of of whether you're offering opportunities they can't take advantage of (Federal financial aid, work-study, study abroad programs) DACA (Deferred Action students) can take advantage of study abroad, but they have to pay $465 for Deferred Action every two years as well as $360 filing fee for the trip.

2. Advise vs. Decide

Advise students on their options, but don't make their decisions for them. Point them to resources that can help them decide.

Be aware of cues that could help you tell if a student is undocumented:
-I can't fill out the FAFSA
-I can't drive
-I can't leave the US/study abroad
-I can't work

3. Support vs. Expertise

The most important part of supporting students is for the support to be visible. Is it difficult for students to find the campus resources that will help them?

UC Davis, who gave the talk, has a website specifically for undocumented students here.

You don't have to know everything. It's important to be a person they can trust and confide in to help get what they need.

4. Human vs. Subject

Remember that this is not just an issue. These are people all over the country - and 200-250,000 are students. Aside from their studies, they have to worry about the safety of themselves and their families, financial burdens of attending college and pursuing a vocation afterward, and how to navigate the system.

5. Ally vs. Advocate

Undocumented students need allies to help them with the issues that they're dealing with. Become knowledgeable about your institution's policies, supports, and opportunities for students.

Advocacy - helping spur legal action is also important. Remember that the DREAM act is not yet a law.

Note: Obviously, this post is not meant to educate on the background of laws or the immigration process. If you need that background, check out UC Davis's site or e4fc.org (Educators for Fair Consideration).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What we have here is a failure to communicate

The other day my dad asked me what happened to an ex-boyfriend he'd liked. It wasn't until after that call that I realized the one behavior I'd heard about in my life that I never wanted to do was the one that I inadvertently repeated.

Someone I know had left a relationship and started dating someone else, but the move was made out of fear. She had been afraid of her boyfriend's mom, but didn't talk about it with him.

At the end of the relationship I had been in that my dad asked about, we were long distance and communication became harder when primarily over email and phone calls. My boyfriend also expressed a desire to take a break from being involved in church activities for awhile since he'd been involved as a college student.

My heart dropped a little. I saw my future married life as a continuation of my childhood; running home after an exciting activity to a husband who didn't share my joy. I wanted us to serve together. But I never expressed it. Never gave him the chance to explain a later desire to serve or a way to compromise or think of things we would enjoy doing together. I just left and I'll never know what could have happened. 

I've had to grow so much as an adult learning how to communicate with people. A fear of true intimacy and rejection kept words stuck in my throat. 

What does this reflection mean now? For me to let people know I care, to love, support, question, and challenge, and pray for the courage to speak when I get the chance.