Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Unalienable



There is a video floating around Facebook about how African American men should respond when a police officer pulls them over - where to put their wallet, what to say/not to say, how to move. The instruction is taught by a Black country singer himself, a well respected fellow in a predominantly white profession. Now I have to say, I know that this video was made with good intentions and that the singer who went through these tips and advice, was probably completely unaware of the complexity of his words. He is definitely well meaning but....this is not right. It's unfair.

A couple of weeks ago I was pulled over, in Utah of all places. I was on a road trip with a few friends. We were driving all over the southwest capturing the majestic wonders of the Grand Canyon and Page, Arizona with our iPhones and Go-Pros, wide-eyed with wonder at all we were seeing. On our drive one morning from Page to Utah there was no one on the road. Literally no one. So naturally I let my foot rest on the gas and I sped like the roadrunner singing along to some surprisingly good Korean pop with my home girls. We approached a slight hill where I couldn't see who, if anyone, was coming and all of the sudden, a cop in a big white SUV drives over the hill and flings his lights on headed in my direction. I pull over. This six - two, 200 lb white and bald police officer approaches my window. He asks me for my license and my registration and of course, like everyone else on a road trip, I have no idea where it is. I searched for my wallet and the rental agreement in probably FIVE different places and NEVER, not even for one minute, did I think that he was going to shoot me. And I searched for a while too...including in my back pocket!

The idea that African Americans have to be more polite, more vigilant, more careful - to practically walk on egg shells not to make white people mad, not to ruffle any feathers, and NOT TO GET SHOT is obscene and a greater reflection of our own terminal blindness than our care for each other. It's tragic. It's essentially the black tax - the unfortunate reality that African Americans, along with Latin Americans and Asian Americans have to pay every day. The notion that they have to work harder, fight longer, and stand stronger than any of their other fellow Americans and it isn't right. No one should have to do anything to merit the same respect and consideration as their white counterparts. Respect and equal consideration under the law is an unalienable right. 

Furthermore, if you as a cop are so afraid of people of color that your first reaction to anything getting out of hand is to shoot them in the chest multiple times, you should not be a cop. You should be forced to seek treatment and help. It's the same concept for youth workers. As a youth worker, if my first reaction to a disobedient child is to hit him repeatedly until he stooped and cowered in a corner, I should not work with children. In fact, I should be restrained from being around any child until I sought proper help from professional mental health care workers. Reality is, if I did hit a child even ONCE, I would be immediately removed from my position, fired from employment, barred from working with children ever again and possibly prosecuted not only by the parents but by the company I worked for.

What many people forget, what many of us ignore, what so many of us quite frankly deny in our minds, in our discussions and in our politics is the very important place that the Civil Rights movement has in EVERYONE'S LIFE. The abolition of slavery happened BEFORE women had the right to vote. The Civil Rights movement came BEFORE (1954-1964) the Second-Wave of feminism (1961-1980s). African Americans have always been the ones paving the way for the other "others" in our society. Without their achievements and miraculous strides against such insurmountable odds, who knows where we would be? And don't you forget: Who taught us how to stand against the pressure of a maddening crowd? The pressure of a fire hydrant? Who taught us how to withstand the humiliation of a sit-in? Who taught the LGBT community to fight against the false doctrine that we are less than because we are different? We are not without a model, we are not without guidance, we are not without an example to follow and African Americans have, without question, been some of the greatest providers of that leadership. What we owe African Americans is their proper place in society - the honor and respect of the ones whose labor and upon whose backs this country was born. And to every human, we owe them our respect in our speech, we owe them our support in our conduct, we owe them our protection in our laws. 

They don't have to earn that. It's unalienable. 

"That's great Ashley. Very rosy. Hope you get what you envision. How do you honestly expect things to change?" The more specific question: "So how should we respond?"

My friend Murrielle said it best:"

This is what we realized needs to happen: 1. people (i.e. the church/Christians) need to stop being offended, and 2. Christians need to stand up and defend others, not themselves. That means the entire body of Christ (whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, etc) needs to acknowledge the ongoing pain and suffering instead of claiming that they are not part of the problem, and stand up in defense of those who are hurting in order to actually be part of the solution."

Can you imagine what would happen if a white man pulled over when he saw an African American on the side of the road with a cop? In the dead of night? Standing there watching to ensure nothing got out of hand?? If all of us did that? If we took our proper place in society as protectors and defenders of each other??

Can you imagine?



God's flops

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once 
Zaccheus was too small Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer..
AND Lazarus was dead!

What's your excuse?


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Black lives matter

Something really good happened today. I suppose it's the pot of gold, the happy ending to a very hard and long road. A very confusing road. I finally see the end in sight and I can't believe I'm there.

But then so many bad things happened too.

I was struck to my core at seeing the video of the man getting shot in the parking lot, watching the police pin him to the ground like a dog. And then the video of the couple in the car, watching her look at her boyfriend who was bleeding out after getting shot by the cop. The cop loosing his mind.

What kind of world do we live in? How is this happening? Last night, my pastor taught about how dangerous it is to be simple minded, naive and to lack prudence. What I have learned, especially from today's events is that only a few can afford to be naive, unaware. The rest of the nation, the entire black American has to be aware and constantly vigilant. For them, it's a perpetual war - an existence under ubiquitous terror. It breaks my heart to think about this. But I have to think about this. I have to be aware. I cannot sit back in my luxury and in my privilege and ignore what so many people are forced to endure.

My question is: what can I do? If anything? It all seems too much...Do we really need more laws?

Or do we need a savior?

God help us.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Poem: When I am small

When I am Small
by Ashley Roque

Prickly beats on my tongue,
The tower falls down.
The monstrous mouse with his fangs of terror
creeps into my marrow.
Seek not to defend they wits against
the perpetual formless terror.
Seek the hand that slayed your Goliath
That sent forth fire down and parted the flesh
and slippery sea before Pharoah -
An invitation to the canyon.
Seek me deep into the abyss
Rescue me not from Thy Majesty.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Films I've seen in the last two months

I need to keep record or a running list of the films I watch to help with my study of film language.

The bold are the best! Over the last two weeks I've seen:

Terminator (1984) 
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Unbreakable (2000)
Game of Thrones: Season 1-4
The Lobster (2016)
Take Care (2014)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Being Mary Jane: Season 3
Failure to Launch (2006)
The Girl King (2015)
The Abyss (1989) - best James Cameron movie EVER
Love (2016) Season 1
That's Not Us (2015)
Palm Trees in the Snow (2015)
Everything Before Us (2016) -great concept!!!
The Best Offer  (2013) - STELLAR story/movie/concept/acting <3
Four of Hearts (2013)
The Rebound (2009) - I could see this movie 1,000
La Mujer de mi Hermano (2005)
Pierre Le Fou (1965)
Breathless (1960)

If I had to pick one that impacted me the most, it would be the last one. I saw it at Cinefamily one night and it totally blew my mind. It's so absurd and weird and complex and beautiful. It's amazing. It's the best depiction of wild love I've ever seen.

Hope you're watching some good movies!



Love & Cancer

My new job is all about cancer. Pediatric cancer, cancer in families, cancer treatment, the list goes on...Part of my work is to look into any google alerts about cancer news and one day I stumbled upon the page for this documentary about a couple's journey through cancer. The images are awesome and fascinating. You can see the surgery and them taking out a piece of his scull and the tumor. You can see the recovery process and how his wife took care of him.

True romance.


In this picture he's taking some kind of bath to as part of his treatment. I don't know the details but if you want to know more and see more (which I hope you do) check out the page.

Good Bones

by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.