Be Human Together…

 In Reflections

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” —Desmond Tutu

Often described as the second Independence Day, we celebrate Juneteenth tomorrow to commemorate the ending of slavery in our country.

In a month that also spotlights the fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community, I was struck by the power of the late, amazing Desmond Tutu’s quote that “we can only be human together” because “my humanity is bound up in yours.”

When part of the dominant culture, it’s easy to move through life with little to no attention to how those in the minority or on the fringe experience the world. We have to remind, and sometimes nudge, ourselves to leave our comfort zone to support others in experiencing the same rights we take for granted. Tutu tells us to remember our humanity, our humaneness.
“You can’t separate peace from freedom,
because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.”
―Malcom X


As a contemplative community, we seek to pay attention, to be fully present, to see with clear eyes what’s before us. Sometimes we gaze upon beauty that takes our breath away; other times we despair at the ugliness in the world. In this month of focus on the freedom to be, how can you best support others in being free to be themselves? How can you step into more freedom in your life and pass it on in our planet’s quest for peace? 

May you celebrate your freedom, challenge yourself to become more free, and seek to ensure freedom in all its variations is open to all.

The Free Exploring Mind

“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.”
—John Steinbeck


“It might seem like a small moment in time, but it is a critical moment in the long struggle to realize the promises of American democracy and freedom. Juneteenth would surely have gone unmarked in our collective historical memory had it not been for the thousands of formerly enslaved people who kindled the small flame of that moment.”

—Shennette Garrett-Scott, PhD

Pulled Over in Short Hills, NJ, 8:00 AM

It’s the shivering. When rage grows
hot as an army of red ants and forces
the mind to quiet the body, the quakes
emerge, sometimes just the knees,
but, at worst, through the hips, chest, neck
until, like a virus, slipping inside the lungs
and pulse, every ounce of strength tapped
to squeeze words from my taut lips,
his eyes scanning my car’s insides, my eyes,
my license, and as I answer the questions
3, 4, 5 times, my jaw tight as a vice,
his hand massaging the gun butt, I
imagine things I don’t want to
and inside beg this to end
before the shiver catches my
hands, and he sees,
and something happens.

—Ross Gay. (link takes you to Ross Gay’s website and links to more of his poetry)

Poetry: A Dozen Texas Voices Swing in the Key of Summer Love: St. James’ Epsicopal Church is hosting this free (or small donation) event on June 22 , 6-9 pm. Reserve your spot on Eventbrite to commemorate two national events from 1967: “the Summer of Love” in San Francisco and “The Summer of Soul” in Harlem. 12 award-winning poets from Houston, San Antonio and Austin will be joined by the Joe Morales Trio, featuring Huston-Tillotson’s Jeremy George and Fable Record’s Laura Mordecai, with nationally-known Austin muralist Chris Rogers at the canvas.  Find Out More on Eventbrite.

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