Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Reflection - Try Counting Your Blessings

When I moved to Buffalo I immediately joined the nearest library, which happens to be on the street where I live.

I love this library because it is near my home and it is always filled with immigrant children. They are from the continent of Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East and Burma. Some are Muslim and Buddhist. They are a joy to be around and their evident passion for books and computers is delightful. Over the years I have made friends with the wonderful Librarians and with the children.

Last week one of the children, a small 8-year-old boy was killed. He and his brothers and sisters were leaving the library - he was happy, laughing and not paying attention – he ran into the street without looking where he was going and was immediately hit by a car. All of the children witnessed this – they ran back into the library to get help from the librarians. All of the librarians rushed out to help but realized that he was dead. I heard the news on the radio, and when I went to the library I learned that it was Tumaini. This little boy who had come to this country as a refugee from the violence and hardship in his native land is now dead.

A few days later the librarians and I attended the funeral and attempted to comfort the family. The church was filled to brimming with the local immigrant community, many cultures were in attendance. There were Africans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Burmese – hundreds of people who spoke different languages but who were there because of the common language of kindness and compassion to a family who had just lost a child.

When I saw Tumaini in the casket he did not have a visible scratch on his sweet little face. He was wearing a suit, his eyes were closed and his long eyelashes lay on his cheek. A happy, loving, vibrant little boy, who died in an instant and who will never be forgotten by this community. His name, Tumaini, means ‘Peace” in his native language.

Before I left the church I prayed for Tumaini’s family, for all of the immigrants who have lived lives of hardships that we can only imagine. I prayed for the 18- year-old driver of the car who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and who will never forget this.

I prayed for the librarians who loved this little boy and who cradled him in their arms with love at the scene of the accident, and I gave a prayer of gratitude for my own life and my family for all of the gifts that we are given unconditionally by a power higher than us.

I share this with you as a reminder that most of us really have very little to complain about and we sometimes forget to take note of the goodness in our lives. The next time that you are feeling low in spirits try counting your blessings.


Friday, April 23, 2010

We Mourn the Passing of Two Amazing Civil Rights Leaders

We Mourn the Passing of Two Amazing Civil Rights Leaders

Dr. Dorothy Irene Height 3/24/12 - 4/20/10

Dr. Height is seen in this photo receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in March 2004.

She was President of National Council of Negro Women – National YMCA; The Center for Radical Justice; President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She received the award in 1993 for extraordinary leadership in advancing women’s rights.

Some words from Dr. Height: When asked what are the achievements of NAACP? –she stated "The Anti-lynching Campaign - at that time she organized the Harlem Youth Campaign and they joined the NAACP United Youth committee with the Council Against Lynching. The NAACP are still working to make the 14th amendment fulfilled – equal justice under law. She also stated that Lillian Smith, a white southern woman , wrote ‘Strange Fruit’ and this song helped the most by exposing lynchings. Thanks to NAACP they stopped lynchings."

"As we look to the future we need to be conscious as a family in the United States and African American women seldom 'do what we want to do, but always do what we have to do.' We cannot improve condition of family without improving conditions for women and she believes that the NAACP can work on this."


Dr. Benjamin Hooks 1/31/25 - 4/15/10

Dr. Hooks is seen in this photo receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007

Dr. Hooks was the NAACP Executive Director from 1977 - 1992. He received many awards in tribute to his precedent-setting accomplishments.

He had great memories of the greatest organization for civil rights. Proud of Anti-lynching laws.

Dr. Hooks often gave the following messages: “In A.D. 33 an African named Simon saw a man struggling with a cross – he was asked to carry cross for him and he did. – One day it will be your turn to do something about it. It’s your turn now! Pick up the cross and move on."

What can be done now? – "First, too many black athletes are making millions of $ and not giving back to the community. Michael Jackson had NAACP do voter registration at his concerts. Right wing radio – needs to go! If President Obama fails the nation fails! Everybody should support the new NAACP president Mr. Jealous."


I, along with many others, had the privilege of meeting and listening to both of these icons while attending the 100th anniversary of the NAACP in New York City in July, 2009. They were both in wheelchairs, but still had the energy and stamina to show up.
They were warriors to their last day.
Their combined 183 years of dedication to civil rights and justice for all has left an impact on the United States and every citizen who lives here. Their place in history has been signed, sealed and delivered and they will be remembered for a very long time.

Collectively, they have received so many awards and honors that I did not include in this message, but I encourage you, the reader, to research their life stories. Especially the young people so that you may understand the incredible achievements made by them.

in honor and respect.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Reflection - Traditional Navajo Prayer - Walk in Beauty

Walk in Beauty

As I Walk with Beauty

As I walk, as I walk

The universe is walking with me

In beauty it walks before me

In beauty it walks behind me

In beauty it walks below me

In beauty it walks above me

Beauty is on every side

As I walk, I walk with Beauty.

In beauty may I walk

All day long may I walk

Through the returning seasons may I walk

Beautifully I will possess again

Beautifully birds

Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk

With dew about my feet may I walk

With beauty may I walk

With beauty before me may I walk

With beauty behind me may I walk

With beauty above me may I walk

With beauty all around me may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk

It is finished in beauty

It is finished in beauty

Traditional Navajo Prayer

Photo by peacesojourner - Majestic Magnolia trees - Niagara Falls, Canada

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy News - The Dedication of Mothers - A True Story

This sweet story was sent to me recently by a friend - it happened a year ago but it is still 'happy news' - enjoy!

The Dedication of Mothers:

A True Duck Story from San Antonio, Texas

Motherhood is about commitment. It is also about making the most out of what God has given you so that you can take your little ones to safety and maturity. And sometimes we see this modeled in the most unusual ways. Here is a real life story from the Kingdom of Ducks that was played out in downtown San Antonio recently.

Something really precious happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael is an accounting clerk at Frost Bank. He works there in a second story office. Several weeks ago he watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the sidewalk. The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.

Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take to water (which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching). Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off. Office work came to a standstill as everyone gathered to watch.

The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn trustingly toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement below. Michael couldn’t stand to watch this risky effort nine more times! He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where the first obedient duckling, near its mother, was resting in a stupor after the near-fatal fall. Michael stood out of sight under the awning-planter, ready to help.

As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. Safe and sound, he set it down it by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from that painful leap.

One by one the babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free fall. At the scene the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a standstill. Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining eight and set them by their approving mother.

At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its dangerous journey. They had two full blocks to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs and past pedestrians to get to the closest open water, the San Antonio River, site of the famed “River Walk.” The onlooking office secretaries and several San Antonio police officers joined in. An empty copy-paper box was brought to collect the babies. They carefully corralled them, with the mother’s approval, and loaded them in the container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San Antonio River. The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all the way

As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping in the river and quacking loudly. At the water’s edge, Michael tipped the box and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to the waiting mother after their adventurous ride.

All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank bookkeeper, and proudly quacking.

At last, all present and accounted for: “We’re all together again. We’re here! We’re here!”

And here’s a family portrait before they head outward to further adventures....Like all of us in the big times of our life, they never could have made it alone without lots of helping hands. I think it gives the name of San Antonio’s famous “River Walk” a whole new meaning!

This story and images have been adapted from the original and posted with permission.

Posted by Doug Phillips on May 11, 2009

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome to peacesojourner's blog

I just noticed that this blog has two new followers.

Welcome to B. J. and Russell.

So glad to have you join us.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The day after Easter.......

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. - Assassinated April 4, 1968

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 – April 4, l968

Place of birth: Atlanta, Georgia. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father also served, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor.

While in college in Boston he met and married Coretta Scott. Two sons and two daughters were born.

Movement: African-American Civil Rights Movement and Peace movement.

Major organizations: President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) 1957

Notable prizes: Nobel Peace Prize (1964)

Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977, posthumous)

Congressional Gold Medal (2004, posthumous)

Alma mater: Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary,Boston University

Religion: Baptist

Influences: Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Benjamin Mays, Hosea Williams, Rosa Parks, Bayard Rustin, Henry David Thoreau, Howard Thurman, Leo Tolstoy.

In 1954, Martin Luther King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. 

At the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

Dr. King's April 4, 1967 speech "A Time to Break Silence: Declaration of Independence from the Vietnam War" was profound and a stark warning against endless war.
He said “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. .... 
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." (MLK, April 4, 1967)
The speech was delivered in the Riverside Church in New York City, to the clergy and laymen concerned about Viet Nam.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room
in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was assassinated. He was killed exactly one year to the day after his greatest speech – against the War on Viet Nam. (in case one misses the symbolism)

The King family publicly stated that the federal government killed Dr. King and that James Earl Ray was just a patsy who was framed (Dexter King even met with Ray in his prison and they sought, without success, to get Ray the trial he never had).
In December 1999, after Ray's death in prison, the King family won a federal lawsuit against some of the perpetrators of the assassination. The jury found that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the victim of a murder conspiracy - not a lone gunman. This astounding jury verdict is rarely mentioned by the media. The facts are fairly straightforward, confirmed by a federal jury verdict and endorsed by the King family.

The best way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy is to work for a world beyond militarism, for non-violence and economic justice.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1967 Speech Against War and Injustice - Timely Today. You can find complete copies of the speech on line, also on youtube. Please take the time to view them. You will see that if you change the words Viet Nam to Iraq and Afghanistan, the speech could be relevant today.

Tomorrow marks the 42nd anniversary of his assassination.

They slew the dreamer - long live the dream.