Sunday, September 06, 2015

Out and About – Summer 2015 (Part 1)

Regular readers of The Wild Reed will be familiar with my "Out and About" series, one that I began in April 2007 as a way of documenting my life as an “out” gay Catholic man, seeking to be all “about” the Spirit-inspired work of embodying God’s justice and compassion in the Church and the world. I've continued the series in one form or another every year since – in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now into 2015.

So let's get started with this latest installment . . .

And I'll start with an important event that my friend Joan (right) and I participated in on Friday, July 31. It was a "solidarity action" in downtown Minneapolis hosted by the Black Liberation Project and in honor of Sandra Bland and other women of color who have recently died in police custody.

For more images and commentary on this event, click here.

This summer saw the first anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 11, 2014. In the wake of the killing, protests engulfed the community – drawing a heavy-handed police response, with officers armed with assault weapons and outfitted with military equipment. (For more on 2014's "summer of strife," click here.)

In response to the anniversary of events in Ferguson and the ongoing killing by police of unarmed people of color throughout the U.S. (see, for example, here and here), a number of thoughtful commentaries have been written. Following are some that I've found particularly insightful and helpful.

Why Aren’t We as Universally Outraged Over Sandra Bland’s Death As We Are Over Cecil the Lion? – David Ferguson (Raw Story, July 29, 2015).
Yes, Racism is Rooted in Economic Inequality – Seth Ackerman (Jacobin, July 29, 2015).
When Oppression is the Status Quo, Disruption is a Moral Duty – Bree Newsome (The Root, August 7, 2015).
365 Days and 605 Armored Military Vehicles Later: Police Militarization a Year After Ferguson – Kanya Bennett (Speak Freely/ACLU via Common Dreams, August 7, 2015).
 Why the Police Killing of Football Player Christian Taylor Matters – Dave Zirin (The Nation, August 10, 2015).
Black Lives Matter Has Become a Global Movement – Janaya Khan (The Root via Common Dreams, August 12, 2015).
Black Lives Matter Movement Gives Bernie Sanders’ Racial Justice Agenda the Push It Needs – Ben Spielberg (34Justice Blog via Common Dreams, August 12, 2015).
Police Shootings About Class As Well As Race – Jesse Jackson (Chicago Sun Times via Common Dreams, August 12, 2015).
 From New Orleans to Ferguson, a Decade of Asserting Black Lives Matter – Melissa Harris-Perry and James Perry (The Nation, August 13, 2015).
 We Need Activists to Make Politicians Better – John Nichols (The Nation, August 12, 2015).
Black Lives Matter Joins a Long Line of Protest Movements That Have Shifted Public Opinion — Most Recently, Occupy Wall Street – Peter Dreier (Salon, August 15, 2015).
Black Lives Matter, ACT UP and the Urgency of Violence and Death – Michelangelo Signorile (HuffPost Gay Voices, August 19, 2015).

Since the beginning of the year my friend Pete and I have been meeting every Thursday for breakfast. We thought it might be fun to get a photograph of us at every new restaurant we visited. And so . . .

In the photo above we're at the Colossal Cafe in Minneapolis on July 2, while at right we're at Sun Street Bakery, Minneapolis on July 9.

Left: On August 6 I hosted our breakfast . . . on the rooftop of the condo complex in which I was condo- (and cat-sitting) at the time.

Right: At Peoples Organic Cafe in Calhoun Square in Uptown, Minneapolis – August 20, 2015.

Right: While working in the garden on Saturday, July 11, I unearthed an interesting artifact.

Now, while some might say it's an old wall ornament of a pheasant, I see a phoenix, ancient symbol of transformation and new life! I take it as a sign of a new beginning – or perhaps a series of new beginnings – in my life.

(For two more images, click here and here.)

From ashes did you birth your flame,
melting away the frozen shame.

A meltdown from a single kiss,
reshaping fate with infernal twist.

Scourging fire to purge the bane,
A massive spark to never wane.

Heat waves galore in hot pursuit,
Firestorms to follow suit.

Passion hotter than the scorching sun,
Molten dances pursue in fiery run.

Tears of battle to singe the root,
Razing flames to trail the soot.

Blazing Phoenix and beast of fire,
May your path birth a new desire.

Above and below: My home in south Minneapolis in the summer of 2015.

Above and below: Twice this summer I did a condo- and cat-sitting gig for friends who live in the Mill District of Minneapolis. For more commentary and images of my time in "Mill City," click here and here.

On the evening of Sunday, June 28, my friend Joan hosted an event at her home in Robbinsdale that served as both a birthday party for my friend and housemate Tim (above center) and my "Poldark party" – a gathering of our friends to watch the first two episodes of the BBC drama based on the novels of Winston Graham.

Pictured above from left: me, Joan, Colleen, Tim, Phil, John, Noelle and Brittany.

Anyone familiar with this blog would know I'm a great admirer of the Poldark novels (see, for example, here, here and here). For reviews of Poldark, click here. For my thoughts on the premiere of the show, click here.

For more on the TV series Poldark, see the following Wild Reed posts:
Return of the (Cornish) Native
"A Token of Wildness and Intractability"
Ross Poldark: Renegade of Principle
Poldark Rides Again
Poldark: Unfurling in Perfect Form

Above: With friends (from left) Phil, Brittany and Liana – June 28, 2015

Left: Lovely little Amelia!

Above: A charming picture of Amelia with her grandpa, John – June 28, 2015.

Above: Celebrating the Fourth of July with friends (from left) Dan, Mark and Walter.

Above: Friends George and Joan (with Sadie) on the lovely deck of Joan's home in Robbinsdale.

Above: With the lovely women of my Tuesday evening yoga group. From left: Cathleen, Janet, Beth and Barbara – July 21, 2015.

Above: Friends John and Noelle, with some of the beautiful wooden bottle openers that John makes.

Left: Friends Brittany and Phil.

Above: Phil with his sister Liana, her husband Curtis, and Liana and Curtis' little girl Amelia. I'm so fortunate to count them all as friends!

Above and below: Beautiful little Amelia, whom I happily baby-sat several times this summer.

Who knows who wrote that song of summer
that blackbirds sing at dusk.
This is a song of colour,
where sands sing in crimson, red and rust,
then climb into bed and turn to dust.

Oh, sing of summer and a sunset.
And sing for us, so that we may remember.
The day writes the words right across the sky.
They all go all the way up to the top of the night.

Kate Bush
"A Sky of Honey: Sunset"
from Aerial (2005)


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Out and About – Spring 2015 (Part I)
Out and About – Spring 2015 (Part II)
Australian Sojourn – March 2015
Out and About – Winter 2014-2015
Out and About – Autumn 2014
Out and About – Summer 2014

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

1 comment:

Mike Airhart said...

Thanks for the roundup of links to Black Lives Matter and racial-justice articles. It's great to see Catholics, especially LGBT Catholics, mobilizing in solidarity with people of color (some of whom are Catholic and LGBT)!

There is so much need for churches to stop waiting for integration to just happen, and to actively work together -- listening, learning, foregoing any white privilege, and practicing equality on a weekly basis.

Thanks also for the links to Mill City, which I wasn't very familiar with -- I'll have to explore it the next time I'm in the Twin Cities. I lived in converted mills in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and greatly appreciated their use of exposed brick, as well as their history, spaciousness, and simplicity.

Mike Airhart