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Friday roundup: Five things worth paying attention to this week

9.7. 2018 Posted By: Joanne Gallardo

Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.

  1. BlacKkKlansman This is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Spike Lee is in great form as he tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, a police officer for the city of Colorado Springs in the early 1970s. Stallworth’s ambition leads him to go under cover and infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan. He gets so far into the inner circle of the hate group that he even speaks to former Grand Wizard David Duke. His main objective is to derail an attempt to violently act toward the leaders of a Black activist group. References to our current state of racial unrest abound. The film ends with horrific video clips from the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesvile, Virginia, in August 2017, bringing home the message that hate groups are still alive and well in our country. Leaving us with the image of the upside-down American flag reminds us that we are indeed a country in distress.
  2. Faux-jitos Muddle mint from your garden in a glass, then add sparkling lime-flavored water. You don’t need alcohol for a faux-jito. My roommate discovered this one, and all summer long we’ve been pretending that we’re fancier than we actually are. If you’ve been doing this for years, my apologies for acting as if we invented it.
  3. Faithful Families At the beginning of the summer, I read Faithful Families by Traci Smith. This pastor has hundreds of ideas for creating sacred moments at home with your family. From prayers to rituals to yearly traditions, Smith explores broad events of note, such as holidays, the death of a loved one, transition and life milestones. This book looks at the importance of faith formation and puts forth practical ideas to implement at home. If you’ve been looking to have more sacred moments with your family, this book is a good place to start.
  4. Calling someone by their preferred gender pronoun I’ve recently noticed a lot of people blatantly ignoring other people’s preferred pronouns: he, she, they. Regardless of your feelings concerning trans folk, we are all human beings worthy of respect. If someone who had previously been referred to as “she” now vocalizes they identify with “he,” “they” or another
    pronoun of their choosing, don’t use the opportunity to soapbox or intentionally misgender them. That’s hurtful and aggressive. I used to work with people facing homelessness in Washington, D.C. Housing staff like me were trained to use someone’s preferred pronoun as an integral part of reducing barriers to individuals engaging in services to address their housing instability. Our viewpoints don’t matter more than dignity. Pay attention to how people identify themselves this week.
  5. Diddy in a Buggy Tobin Miller Shearer sheds light on the Fresh Air Fund in this article. Beginning in the 1940s and 50s, Amish and Mennonite folk who lived in rural communities would opt to bring a Latinx or African-American child into their farm or homestead for a period of time. Before this era, mostly white children had been sent. While the rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs had what Shearer calls a “nostalgic” experience in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of these children did not. Mennonites were not above using racial epithets or exploiting black and brown children. This is a part of our history we would do well to remember and learn from.

Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship, Goshen, Indiana.

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