Water is Life

I spent last week in northern Minnesota with a camp of Water Protectors along the Mississippi River. The Indigenous, women-led movement is currently working to stop construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline. I went, specifically because I wanted to learn more. I went because I want to get better at hearing Indigenous voices. I went because I have heard the Water Protectors called radical, … Continue reading Water is Life

Signs of the times

It was a quiet drive from Oxford to Sumner, Mississippi. Karen was busy and I drove the 70 miles by myself. I don’t think I said more than a few words all day. Mostly, I read signs. And I’m going to let the signs do most of the talking today. A sign in front of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse says: “Emmett Till Murder Trial. In … Continue reading Signs of the times

Justice

It stopped me in my tracks. On Sunday, we visited the Peace and Justice Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. It pays tribute to the 4,000 plus Black people who were lynched in America during a campaign of racial violence that has changed over time, but never really ended. Above your head as you walk through the memorial, large steel beams are suspended, engraved with the names … Continue reading Justice

Grief

My heart is heavy. It’s the news. It’s the trial in our home town for the death of George Floyd. It’s Daunte Wright. It’s Atlanta. Kenosha. Indianapolis. It’s gathering stories under the shadow of a Confederate statue. It’s visiting lynching sites. But it’s more than that. It’s how quickly each event is spun and re-spun, then spun again. It’s how animosity instantly takes root in … Continue reading Grief

Statues

It was more awkward than I had imagined—as a white guy—to stand in the middle of a busy intersection to take a photograph of the Confederate statue. It was the reason we had come to town, to have conversations about monuments and race. But somehow, the moment I raised my camera, I felt conspicuous. It’s the same feeling I had when I pulled over in … Continue reading Statues

Truth

I suppose there is a line to be drawn from the Easter story to Dr King’s assassination in Memphis in 1968 to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis a year ago. Perhaps a learned theologian could articulate conclusions more clearly than me. Maybe a great philosopher could connect the dots in a way that would help everyone see the light. I’m still working on … Continue reading Truth

Where the water meets the land

This one’s going to be raw and unpolished. What’s new, you might ask. As we pack up to leave southern Louisiana, my mind is full. It’s a complex region full of complex challenges. But like most things, these are not Louisiana’s problems. They belong to all of us. What follows is less journalism than it is reflection. It’s a Cliff Notes version of the science, … Continue reading Where the water meets the land

20,000 miles

20,000 miles. That’s how far we’ve driven since October to explore issues, listen to stories, and imagine new possibilities. All with our trailer / house in tow. We’ve stayed at state parks, horse ranches, RV campgrounds, and the back corners of distillery parking lots. We’ve met artists and activists, politicians and programmers, veterans and veterinarians. It’s true that our country is divided in many ways. … Continue reading 20,000 miles

Proximity

If you want to understand the world, get closer. Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of Just Mercy, talks about the importance of proximity as we try to grasp the nuanced realities of life. “If you are willing to get closer to people who are suffering,” Stevenson says, “you will find the power to change the world.” We have spent the last … Continue reading Proximity