The kindness of strangers

All along this adventure, multiple times a day, you meet amazing, mind people. Even on the hard days, it’s impossible to feel truly alone.

In Marion, Kentucky, the Methodist Church welcomes cyclists every day to a warm shower and a safe, dry place to sleep. The minister’s adorable son approached me at the library and invited me to stay. The minister, after seeing cyclists struggle to get their bikes up into the hall, even built a bike ramp.

In Sebree, Bob and Violet have been welcoming cyclists for more than 30 years. Every night of the week Violet cooks for whoever comes along, and after a wonderful meal and hearing incredible stories of those who’ve passed through, Bob (the recently retired minister) leads a prayer for their safety. The kindest people you may ever meet. Nights like this give me hope for the struggles ahead.


The pie just gets bigger

Visiting Eliot Chapel outside of St. Louis was a major highlight of this incredible journey. What an amazing, dedicated group of UU folks committed to racial justice.

They hold a vigil every Tuesday evening to witness to the community their solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. That same night I was there they also hosted a meeting to discuss policing and holding police accountable.

I received such warm support for my journey, and the important work of Catalyst Project and All of Us or None. I also got to learn about their work, and hear from one of their long time church members and organizers about overcoming challenges in mobilizing the church community for racial justice. She spoke to me about building community at the same time we confront these hard issues — that the work for racial justice doesn’t have to take away from the other good work being done by the congregation. With love, connection and faith, the pie just gets bigger.


Voting rights victory in California

LSPC Executive Director and All of Us or None founding member Dorsey Nunn speaking at a press conference in front of new California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

LSPC Executive Director and All of Us or None founding member Dorsey Nunn speaking at a press conference in front of new California Secretary of State Alex Padilla

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, of which All of Us or None is the grassroots organizing arm, just declared an important victory for formerly incarcerated people in California. 60,000 more folks are now able to vote!

There is a lot of terror and heartbreak and rage happening and in and all around us this summer, and it’s important not to turn away from that — but it’s also important to take in those moments when the people are winning. And when California essentially issues (an albeit not large enough) fuck you to Jim Crow, that is awesome.


Super tired, after my last day in the Ozarks, but so overdue on writing here.

The kindness of Kansans continued through to the east side and into Missouri, where I even met my first friendly dog–most of the dogs who chase me are snarling and mean, but here was this sweet pitbull girl just happy to run alongside me, outside of Joplin.

My brother picked me up not long after, and he and my sister-in-law gave me such a wonderful rest in Fayetteville. It was great to be back in the Ozarks, where part of my family is from, and I was raised off and on from childhood.

A friend from the Braden program showed me the online project #NotMyOzarks, and on my last afternoon we joined in, fighting back against the predominant white supremacist story about Southerners and rural folks.


Catalys Project’s Anti-Racist Organizing Strategies Panel

For folks wanting to know more about the Catalyst Project ‘s work, here is one of the many awesome panels they organized on May 9 as part of the 2015 Anne Braden Antiracism Training Program for white social justice activists.

We were so fortunate to hear from amazing speakers Dolores Canales from California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement, Maisha Quint from EastSide Arts Alliance, and Cinthya Muñoz Ramos from Causa Justa/Just Cause.

Some of the many important takeaways from this gathering were the reminder that those who are most impacted are and must be the source of the solutions for the problems we are trying to solve. And to constantly be doing both/and in our antiracist organizing — both educating and organizing other white people back home in our communities, and following the strategic leadership of Black folks and other folks of color into the streets to interrupt white supremacy. Both building the new culture, the new world we wish to see, and fighting to keep alive those most threatened and targeted under the current reality. And so much more, worth the watch and considering how these ideas relate to our local work.

Anti Racist Organizing Strategies Panel, 5/9/2015 from Catalyst Project on Vimeo.

Independence Day

On this July 4th, I am grateful for the freedom I’ve enjoyed on this wild adventure, and also heart-heavy and determined to fight for a world where we can all enjoy true freedom. I cannot love this country, with all of the damage it does here and around the world, making everyone less safe. But I can absolutely love my people, and want more for us.

I was invited by an incredibly kind woman in a small town in the middle of Kansas, today, to come back to her family’s house and share in the holiday meal and fireworks. A complete stranger, a Christian family that really tries to live out their faith. Such a strong reminder of what could be possible in this country.

But while any people are gunned down, beaten up, locked up, their places of sacred worship burned, much of this done by our government’s forces, or with its impunity, none of us are truly free.

This journey has been way harder than I could have known. And the good people fighting for justice at Catalyst Project and All of Us or None are seeking our support.

Now, more than ever, we are called to act. You are needed. I am needed. And we can make a difference.

Will you give what you can to my journey today? I believe so passionately in this work, and really honestly want to invite you to join me in it.

there’s a donate link on the top left. please help if you can.

with love and passion for justice,

Who is burning Black churches?

I was welcomed so warmly this evening to the Sheridan Lake Bible Church, a haven for cyclists with a real kitchen, bathroom, and even WiFi in the parlor. The pastor and his family all have names beginning with the letter V; I fit right in.

As I lay here safe and sound, tucked away from the elements, on a softly carpeted fellowship hall floor, I read about the seventh Black church to be burned since Charleston. Seven.

Earlier today I passed through land very near to where the Sand Creek massacre happened in 1864. White soldiers murdered more than 200 native Americans, 2/3 of them women and children. The town, now all but deserted, on the highway is named for the man who led the massacre.

In tourist maps, the massacre is described as a mistake, a miscommunication, unfortunate.

More than 200 lives, bodies, ripped apart — and Col. Chivington paraded around Denver with lots of “souvenirs,” pieces of the human beings he’d slaughtered. An entire village decimated. We live in towns named after the dudes who did this, and are surprised when dudes today continue this racist work?

When will we whites wake one another up to the brutal realities continually faced by people of color? Can we organize, at least, to protect the sacred spaces that are under attack? This is actually a war. It is so clearly, and has been, a matter of life and death.