Counter Voices is an augmentation of the website Diversity-Threads.com. The vision and mission is to provide awareness, insights and understanding of the dimensions of Diversity in order to engage in conversations without fear and apprehension. As with the website, the podcast provides language, references, research, stories, and strategies on how to approach with confidence challenging conversations dealing with the connected elements and principles of Diversity, Inclusivity, Equity, Democracy and Citizenship.
So what do we see when we pass a homeless soul on the street?
What do we feel?
What words go through our mind, heart and spirit?
It’s only a passing instance, right? The sight quickly dissolves . . . or does it?
Why would it linger?
This past year, All Saints Literacy Center piloted a supplemental program called “Whole Person Literacy” focused on spiritual and cultural literacy based on concepts of knowing, understanding, and self-development. We had monthly activities that were carried out in pairs or in groups. Learners and tutors participating in the program gained knowledge and created meaning individually and socially as they took part in the activities. The needs of the whole person were explored through an alternative lens of literacy.
“Poetry humanizes – Poetry gives a human face to a time like this. Poetry gives eyes and a mouth and a voice to a time life this. Poetry records a time like this for future generations who want to know about a time like this in terms of the five senses, and in terms of the soul.”
~ Martin Espada
Immigration is often thought of as a collective noun.
On the contrary, each immigrant is an individual and comes to America for a plethora of different reasons.
Most often to enhance the quality of their lives and in turn the lives of others.
“Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”
~ President Obama, November 20, 2014
* “Martín Espada’s “Imagine the Angels of Bread” is a fascinating combination of the vengeful and the visionary, of anger and compassion, and of reality and dream.
The speaker imagines a worldwide release from oppression, depicting an escape, among other injustices, from inhumane work conditions, tenant evictions, and politically motivated murders.
The poem proceeds by way of a series of near-apocalyptic revolutionary reversals, by inverting long-standing injustices as Espada, on the one hand, imagines those in power themselves suffering for the first time –”squatters evict landlords” –or, conversely, dreams of liberating the poor and the victims of discrimination.”
* Heather Zadra – Book Review Modern American Poetry Society
Imagine the Angels of Bread (Published, Norton, 1996)
Why the hesitation by white people to engage with white people in difficult and uncomfortable discourse on racism and hate?
Some would argue that the reasons are due to the “teflon effect”, “cognitive dissonance”, “white fragility”, “fear” and a lack of knowledge.
“White on White” conversations can become contentious, uncomfortable and question social-cultural loyalties.
But we are in the 21st century and “White on White” conversations are taking place by choice, with emotional intelligence and moral courage.
Inclusive generational alliances are in motion and a reality.