TikTok, the Pandemic platform for community, resistance, and activism by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteIt’s July which means we have collectively endured 7 months of uncertainty, turmoil, darkness, and light. America, we are still battling all aspects of the virus: rising numbers of infected, those that deny its existence, those refusing to wear masks to help to stop the spread, and everyone else doing their duty by staying at home, washing their hands, and wearing masks. Yet, something else has added to the mix and the COVID19 pandemic; social media. Social media has taken on a whole new level for activism and resistance.

Continue reading “TikTok, the Pandemic platform for community, resistance, and activism by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Listening to the Noise: The Connections between Milada Horáková, Anti-Semitism, and the Black Lives Matter Movement by Ivy Helman.

20200627_112934This month more than most, I feel like I have so much to say that I don’t really know where to begin.  It doesn’t help that next door they are remodelling an apartment and, outside my window, there is a crew drilling up the sidewalk and another roofing the house across the street.  The noise and its echoing are overwhelming on Prague’s narrow streets.  

Perhaps the best place to start is with a similarly loud occurrence.  On June 27th, Prague commemorated the 70th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horáková using the city-wide intercom system.  Minute-long excerpts from her trial and execution were broadcast throughout the day.  Horáková, the only woman to be executed during the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, was a long-time proponent of democracy and  women’s rights.  In the field of women’s rights,  she focused on the status of women and children, spending considerable effort on women in the workplace and reconciling their work with family responsibilities.  She was also an outspoken critic of the Nazi Regime, having spent time as a political prisoner in Terezin.  When the war ended, she joined parliament, but resigned right after the communist take-over.  After continuing to speak out against the Communists,  she was arrested in September of 1949 and charged with attempting to overthrown the government.  She along with 12 others were interrogated and tried.  Four of them, including Horáková were sentenced to death.  She was publicly hanged on the 27th of June 1950.  Eighteen long years later, she was posthumously exonerated, and in 2000, the Czech Republic unveiled a commemorative tombstone for her in the National Cemetery at Vyšehrad Castle.  In 2017, a film was made about her life and legacy. Continue reading “Listening to the Noise: The Connections between Milada Horáková, Anti-Semitism, and the Black Lives Matter Movement by Ivy Helman.”

#SharetheMicNow: Social Justice and Christianity by Laurel E. Brown and Anjeanette LeBoeuf

In the midst of recent events and protests, a social media campaign entitled #sharethemicnow has emerged.  The campaign asked white people and people of influence to use their platforms, quiet their voices, and highlight, heighten, and listen to their Black counterparts. I have been honored and privileged to be a monthly contributor here at FAR for 5 years. This month’s post will be in participation with the #sharethemicnow campaign. This campaign seeks to keep the momentum for the realization and implementation of equality and just treatment for all peoples – regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. I asked a dear friend of mine, whom I had the pleasure of working with at Whittier College, to write this post. Dr. Laurel Brown, whose discipline is in Social Work, shares with us some thoughts on Christianity and Social Justice in midst of our current issues.

Continue reading “#SharetheMicNow: Social Justice and Christianity by Laurel E. Brown and Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Coming Out of Quarantine by Angela Yarber

As Pride Month and Black Lives Matter protests co-exist, the spirituality of queer women of color teaches white allies how to listen.

After nearly eighty days of sheltering in place, I feel like I’ve stepped out and found the world on fire. June isn’t supposed to be this way. It’s Pride Month, after all, and I’m queer, eager to dance alongside my favorite drag queens, albeit reticent to embrace capitalism’s commodification of our beloved rainbows.

Most of our annual Pride events have been cancelled due to concerns of social distancing amid a global pandemic. I support these cancellations, though my first family outing since quarantine was a Black Lives Matter protest in Hilo, Hawai’i; we all stood six-plus feet apart, wore masks, and waved our signs beneath the King Kamehameha statue. As my six-year-old was complimented on how he wrote his own sign, I adjusted my three-year-old daughter’s face mask and thought about how queer BIPOC started the Stonewall riots only 51 years ago. I thought about how we queers would have every right to demand our Pride celebrations, storming capitals with glitter bombs, and demanding our civil liberties, not completely dissimilar to the myriad gun clad white dudes demanding haircuts only weeks ago. But we don’t. Continue reading “Coming Out of Quarantine by Angela Yarber”

They Too Are America by Karen Leslie Hernandez

George Floyd.

It has been a week.

But, not really just a week. Months. Years. Decades. Centuries.

1,253 black human beings have died at the hands of law enforcement in the United States since 2015. And we just keep watching. Mostly by fatal shootings from on-duty police officers, The Washington Post has kept track of all those killed by law enforcement since 2015. The numbers are staggering.

This indiscriminate killing is not just of black people, but a disproportionate number of those killed, are black and Latino. In fact, according to the Post, “The rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.”

Sons. Brothers. Fathers. Cousins. Husbands. Dads.

Rayshard Scales, 30
David Tylek Atkinson, 24
Finan H. Berhe, 30
Adrian Medearis, 48
Dreasjon Reed, 21
Jah’Sean Iandie Hodge, 21
Qavon Webb, 23
Demontre Bruner, 21
Brent Martin, 32
Shaun Lee Fuhr, 24
Malcom Xavier Ray Williams, 37
Elmer L. Mack, 40
Chase Rosa, 24
Virgill Thrope, 28
Steven Taylor, 33
Derick L. Powe, no age listed
Jasman Washington, 31
Goldie Bellinger, 39
Zyon Romeir Wyche, 19
Joshua Dariandre Ruffin, 17
Dewayne Curtis Lafond, 45
Idris Abus-Salaam, 33
Nathan R. Hodge, 66 Continue reading “They Too Are America by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Where’s the Love by Gina Messina

In a recent post I wrote about finding God in music. I confess, I cannot remember the last time I set foot in a church. As a woman, I continually grapple with the foundational messages of Jesus and Catholic Social Teaching and the disconnect with the power structures that seek to control the ways we love and find justice. I long to participate in the culture I grew up in, but cannot support the weaponization of the tradition. 

Lately, I’ve come to realize that the messages I connect to I find in music. There are particular songs that offer me the guidance, philosophy, and ideas around meaning and purpose that I resonate with. One of those is “Where’s the Love?” by the Black Eyed Peas.  

I’ve been listening to it on repeat lately because it is the sermon I need to hear; it speaks to me and even though it was recorded quite a while ago, it is still relevant. I think it is fair to say that in our current socio-political culture, people are “acting like they got no mamas.”  And by the way, I include myself in that statement. Like anyone, I sometimes get so caught up in believing that my way is the only way, I forget to listen to what others have to say.

We are in the midst of a political civil war and are so busy yelling past each other, we’ve forgotten how critical unity is to shaping a healthy government that serves its purpose – caring for the people. Continue reading “Where’s the Love by Gina Messina”

Racism: We Still Don’t Get It by Esther Nelson


I was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, this summer for several weeks, spending much of my time unpacking boxes the moving van had delivered while simultaneously trying to create an aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable home.  I also went to the Unitarian Universalist church–twice!  (I haven’t attended church or any other place of worship regularly for decades.)  But, moving is a socially-disruptive experience and church is one place you can connect with individual people as well as with the larger community.  So, I decided to visit the local UU congregation.

Unitarian Universalism has a fairly long and circuitous history in the United States.  It’s roots are in liberal Protestant theology and practice, but the institution has branched out from its roots, seeking to be more “inclusive and diverse.”  Some of the historical background and development of the church can be found on Wikipedia.  As fascinating as this history and development is, I want to focus here on “Black Lives Matter”–a theme the congregation chose to use as it centered its worship on one of the Sundays I attended.
Continue reading “Racism: We Still Don’t Get It by Esther Nelson”

White Privilege: Confessions of a Poor White Girl by Cynthia Garrity-Bond

cynthia garrity bondRecently FAR contributor Sara Frykenberg posted an article to Facebook that caused me to think again about the now-famous essay by Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” In “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person,” Gina Crosley-Corcoran does an excellent job of including issues of class, meaning poverty, into the discourse about race and privilege using the theory of intersectionality.  If I am honest, the tensions between race and poverty have made the owning my white privilege challenging.

Like Crosley-Corcoran, I was raised in poverty. After my parents divorced in the early 1960s, our fall into poverty was pronounced.  My mother liked to move, so much so that I attended no less than 15 different schools before high school.  We lived in one house for two years without hot water. I learned early on the stigma of poverty, when even a Catholic school uniform could not protect me from signs of inferiority.  Perhaps worse was the alienation I experienced as a young girl when other children’s parents discovered my father’s second job as a tattoo artist. Once that was known, most friends could no longer play with me outside of school. My psyche situated itself between shame and love, with the burden of keeping my humiliation a secret from the rest of my family. Continue reading “White Privilege: Confessions of a Poor White Girl by Cynthia Garrity-Bond”

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