Each week I sit down to offer you my, personal, reflection on issues of politics and religion. Sometimes fun sometimes serious...you be the judge. Some of the stories you have seen others maybe not. This has been a tough week, for many reasons. Not a lot of levity... Read on...and thanks for coming by.
Black Lives Matter
For months we have heard the chant. Far too often it is met with "All Lives Matter" and while they do...answering "Black Lives Matter" with "All Lives Matter" marginalizes what is being said. While it is true that All Lives Matter...let me offer you a thoughtful response. Something that I read last week.
Picture a family sitting down for dinner/supper. There are five people at the table and everyone but you is served their meal. After a few moments you say, "I too should be served." and the Father looks at you and says, "All should be served." and then goes back to his plate. You? You sit there...waiting. He heard you but then dismissed the notion that you...mattered.
"Black Lives Matter" is not only about the life of a person but also the quality of life a person experiences. It's not a call that says the life of one person outweighs that of another it is much more broad. It is a call that says for far too long America has relegated African American lives to a second or third tier. It is the frustration that calls out for equal education, jobs, housing, treatment by authority, family life. It is a reminder that there is, in this nation, a bias. You can deny it but it is real. It may be overt or it may be unconscious...but it exists. To deny it is to say black lives do not matter. (Cartoon - Tim Lloyd)
I never do this because my personal life and my professional life I like to keep, somewhat, separate. However, last week...in a radio interview that had been scheduled long before the murders of last week...we talked about unconscious bias in the workplace with Kevin Pokorny and Renee Hardman. Here is that conversation:
I had never seen this old clip until it was posted on Twitter this week. A bit of background: Jane Elliott is now 83 years old. She was a school teacher educated at the University of Northern Iowa and today lives in Riceville, Iowa. Yes, an Iowan. For years she has spoken out against racism. I am ashamed I have never met her. Here is that clip:
Iowa and Mental Health
Last week a trial balloon was floated out by Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) suggesting that he is "open" to the idea of closing the two remaining mental health facilities in Iowa. It's is refreshing to know Iowa does not suffer any mental illness and things are just...rosy. Already, thanks to this governor, Iowa ranks dead last in the care and treatment of its citizens with mental health issues...
Just yesterday I was speaking to a special education school teacher from the Des Moines Public Schools and mentioned the fact that Iowa is free of mental health problems... She countered with, "So that is why I spent the final day at school at the Polk County Jail with a student who was in crisis. The Polk County Jail. Jail and prison the destination for people in this state who suffer mental health issues..."
We Change the Conversation
So, how do we fix what is so badly broken in Iowa? We work to elect people like Miyoko Hikiji to the Iowa Legislature and we change the conversation from a corporate culture of greed and indifference to one of "people first". Last week, on a very hot night in Urbandale, I attended an ice cream fundraiser for Miyoko who is running for the Iowa State Senate in District 20. (You can click through for a map of the district.) State Senator Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) was there to support and urge Democrats and Independents to change the conversation at the State House and vote for Miyoko. Want to know more about her? Here you go... You should know that Miyoko is one of several strong females running for the Iowa State House. Each week I'll share another name with you.
I spoke to Sen. Hogg at the event last week and thanked him for coming to the Des Moines Metro in support of Miyoko. Not all the folks who lost in the recent primary volunteer to join and support other campaigns. Thank you Rob for your efforts. Let's all hope we do change the makeup of the Iowa Legislature and elect progressive lawmakers in November.
This week I will mark the yahrzeit (date of death) of my Father z"tl. He died suddenly in the early morning hours on the 12th of July. I know because I was there attempting to perform CPR while the medical team rushed to the scene in my parents bedroom. Our son, Aaron, was seven years old and was also there. The memory of that day is as vivid today as then. It is overshadowed only by the fond memories I have of my Father... May his memory continue to inspire...
Thanks for reading...have a great week.