Let them eat cake

I originally came to Alaska for a three week stint, and I stayed for a year. After a period of travel, I find myself a permanent resident of “the great land.” Currently, I am in Alaska’s southeast, working the summer at a tourist job in the pristine wilderness area of Glacier Bay National Park. On Friday the 22nd, I spent a serene day kayaking on a rare day of sunny brilliance, the rugged and majestic world on full display as I paddled through glassy waters. Continue reading Let them eat cake

Letter from an inmate

Here is a letter excerpt from my correspondence with a former student:

“..the [state] prison system is very very broken there is no rehabilitation.all the system is doing is making better criminals look at this facility for instantce,there are right at 3200 men here and only about 400 program spaces.that leaves 2800 guys walking around in a fog learning bad life skills and honing up on there outside bad habits.our wonderful states idea to cut out college to inmates and flood the prison with more guys with longer time wasnt the best of answers in my mind. you would think that society would want there to be reform and education programs to give the guys goin home a fighting chance .i think society thinks that once a guy gets locked up hes here for life on any crime commeted.that is a sad belief. we need advocates on the outside to voice that they want guys reentering society to have some sort of direction and be able to get a half ass chance to prove himself again.i get the fact that not all men can or even want to change,but jeez give us a chance to decide that for ourselves. ok enough of that rant….” Continue reading Letter from an inmate

Letters from inside a prison cell

A former student writes this from prison. Just a small reminder of how difficult it is for those who are incarcerated to survive, let alone improve their mental, psychological, and moral condition. I admire those who endure incarceration and still manage to grow and advance. They are exceptional and brilliant individuals.

“….we have been locked down for the last thirty days some one come up with the bright idea to escape. so the other 3100 of us got to reap his reward. that was some pretty tough time,though gave me time to do a moral and spiritual inventory of myself. wish i would have had a list of prison and jail rules of lock down and prisoners rights if any. they fed us every 14 or so hours and let us out every three days to shower for ten minutes other than that cell bound. almost literaly bread and water ,some cereal and peanut butter,and a hot meal every 7 days as long as they didnt run out…..”

One very important thing you could do for humanity and society is to simply write an inmate. If you do not already do so, I’d recommend giving it a try. It is easy and doesn’t require much of a time commitment, but it is an incredibly profound correspondence.

Kenya’s legal same-sex marriages

From the BBC:

Homosexual acts may be outlawed in Kenya but there is a long tradition among some communities of women marrying each other. This is hard to fathom in a country where religious leaders condemn gay unions as “un-African” – and those who dare to declare their partnerships openly often receive a hostile public reaction.

Continue reading Kenya’s legal same-sex marriages

Link: Good White People

image

From Good White Person:
White guilt doesn’t really help me in itself, it doesn’t help me have a less racist experience of the world. Articulation of white guilt re-centers discussion of racism around white experience, and it puts pressure on POCs [people of color] to reassure white people’s feelings…

Continue reading Link: Good White People

Gay Parents Better than Straight Parents? What the Research Says.

Unfortunately it is religious people, in particular Christians, who criticize and even demonize same sex parenting. It may sound simplistic, but my personalview is that the best home for children is one of love and of informed/educated parenting methods. Here are a few clips from an article at The Huffington Post: Continue reading Gay Parents Better than Straight Parents? What the Research Says.

Good to the last drop – concerns for child labor

I just finished reading an extensive but very accessible article on forced child labor used in the production of chocolate and coffee. “Quite simply, much of the coffee and chocolate improving our health is simultaneously jeopardizing the freedom and lives of hundreds of thousands around the world including many children.” Continue reading Good to the last drop – concerns for child labor

Sober Cannibals and Drunken Christians

“For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself–the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”

From the classic novel, and one of my personal favorites, Moby Dick.

A Country of Inmates

I became passionate about the politics of incarceration after volunteering to teach a creative writing class at the local county jail a few years ago. It opened my eyes to a good deal of oppression and exploitation that takes place in the U.S., in the name of justice. Continue reading A Country of Inmates

Occupy #9 – Who are the real criminals?

“So far almost 4,000 folks have been arrested at Occupy demonstrations around the country, yet not a single one of the Wall Street criminals responsible for the financial ruin we find ourselves in has. Continue reading Occupy #9 – Who are the real criminals?

News Link: Rising Poverty in Suburbs

The poor population in America’s suburbs — long a symbol of a stable and prosperous American middle class — rose by more than half after 2000, forcing suburban communities across the country to re-evaluate their identities and how they serve their populations. Continue reading News Link: Rising Poverty in Suburbs

On racism and wealth

“Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” – James, chapter 2

I overheard a racist conversation the other day. It’s not something that entirely surprised me, because having lived in the Midwest for a good deal of my life, I’m used to hearing racist comments, jokes, and conversations. Continue reading On racism and wealth