When Reverend Anne Hines of Roncesvalles United Church in Toronto invited me to write a poem for Easter Sunday 2020, I had no idea that this invitation would become a dance with Word via words, that would alter my very own relating and relationship with my métier: poetry. A relationship that began to take me back into reading The Bible in a manner that shone a powerful light on the fact of that book’s capacity to shake, quake, challenge, and enlighten from the place of love, Wisdom, and indeed, inclusivity.
Each Monday I receive three to four words or phrases based on the book around which the Sunday sharing will be grounded. I read the chapter. I read with the HEaRt of womyn’s voice-ing. I read to unearth, to divine, to HEaR what is being invited, and how. The underpinning of my HEaRt’s listening, is the question: how does Godde wish for us to love?
In a recent interview about my current published paper and my life’s-work, Sawbonna, which is a model of both social and restorative justice, I was struck by how being locked down due to this global pandemic not only rips us to the core of our fears and forebodings; but, as well, invites us, if challenges us, to witness with and for each other, as we come to see the depth of resilience that has been a kindred companion throughout the ages. From time immemorial, Gaia delights by firing our hearts of justice with creativity. With love.
My interview took place over Zoom, a virtual bridge of connection and connecting. In this instance, that bridge stretched between Toronto, Canada and Cork, Ireland, where activist and researcher Jane Mulcahy and I spoke about Sawbonna, which is contextualized in the crucible of shared-humanity and human-rights. We discussed therapeutic writing, voice, trauma, poetry. Our conversation [which will be on Jane’s SoundCloud platform later this year] was infused with a crystal clear knowing that trauma and grief are in symbiotic sisterhood with resilience and voice. Continue reading “Gaia Delights: Sawbonna Resilience and the Pandemic by Margot Van Sluytman/Raven Speaks”
Like many of you I have been following discussions of the revelation that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam dressed in blackface or as a member of the Ku Klux Klan when he was a medical student. It was reported that Northam was earlier known as “coonman,” an epithet which suggests that he had blackened his face more than once. His later admission that he put only a little bit of black shoe polish on his face because it is hard to get off, when he dressed up as Michael Jackson, seems to confirm that blackface was something he had tried before. There was also the fact that students had been asked by the yearbook committee to submit photographs for their pages: Northam did not say if he submitted the photographs on his page.
Some commented that Northam’s was not a (possibly forgivable) youthful offense, but one committed by a twenty-six year-old adult. Others said that Northam’s failure to take full responsibility for his apparently repeated behavior and the hurt and harm his actions and actions like them had caused was the more serious offense. Perhaps he could still have governed if he had apologized fully, told the story of how he came to understand race relations on a deeper level, and immediately offered to meet with black leaders and restorative justice experts to discuss what he could to earn back the trust of the people who elected him.
Everyone seemed relieved that Northam would be replaced by a young progressive black man. It seemed like a happy ending to a very sad story.