(Almost)-Spring Cleaning

Sunday, chilled, rainy, very windy, I’d almost wished there’d been a fireplace fire in the meetinghouse fireplace. Surely a hearty blaze would brighten my spirits?  But, no, I realized. If there were to be any cheering up going on that gloomy morning, it would have to come from within! And I remembered something someone in […]

. . . Things I Cannot Change

I visit a man in “Seg.” (as in Segregation) Aka “The Hole” or “Solitary Confinement.” (Once, on the phone, while making the required appointment to visit this man, I’d carelessly used the word “Isolation” and was quickly and firmly corrected.)  Whatever its label, putting a human being in a tiny room all alone for long […]

Being Human

Sunday morning found me, earrings and bracelets and watch-free, being escorted through the long and eerily empty corridors of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center. Loathe to say anything that could in any way negatively impact the inmate I was about to visit, I chose to remain silent with my prison-guard escort.* And, too, because I recognized that although […]

Speaking Truth—or Redemption—to Power?

In March, at the request of X, a Massachusetts inmate I have been writing to for the past three years, I send the letter excerpted here to the Parole Board:  . . . A member of my [Quaker] meeting’s Prison Fellowship Committee, I’d learned through people connected with our prison ministry that X would appreciate […]

“To know and not to act is not to know”

[A fountain in downtown Boston] Just finished Nadine Gortimer‘s Burger’s Daughter; she’d used the above quote by Chinese philosopher, Wang Yang-ming (1472—1529), to introduce Part Two of her amazing and painful and gorgeously written anti-apartheid novel. It just might be my new credo. If I know that climate change is real but do nothing, I don’t know. If […]

“The Deepest Thing Inside”*

Last Saturday I took the 83 bus, which was running late, to an all-day workshop on restorative justice circles** in Cambridge. Seated across from me was an elderly, well-dressed African American man; he was also blind. When the bus approached the intersection of Beacon and Washington Streets, he pushed the call button indicating he wanted to […]

Branded # 7: Amity*

Last night I attended a reading at Porter Square Books by Debby Irving, an attractive, personable, and righteous Cambridge resident, re her brand-new book, Waking Up White And Finding Myself in the Story of Race. Reader, I was upset. And jealous. Especially when Irving flatly stated that after taking a course at Wheelock College—where I went, for heaven’s […]