The Practice

Find it in the most unreasonable of places—from your sweaty mat to dirty street corners, in meditation and in the midst of violent gangs, from the criminally wealthy estates of Beverly Hills to remote villages with no running water. Find it in injustice, find it in unfairness, in the hungry child and the obese fairground-goer, in the deranged and the selfish, the sick and the wanting, the helpless, the hopeless, the homeless and feared. Find it in those who buy their way out of guilt, yell their way out of shame, drug their way out of compassion. For those who condemn you, for those who cherish you, for those who cut you off and those who embrace you—find love.

Minorityphobia: A Letter to American Minorities

As we are living through this nasty spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric and attacks, we need to keep in mind that the incidents are increasing, not decreasing, as we near the November elections. So far in 2016, there’s been an attack against Muslims in the U.S. every 13 hours. And it’s important that we realize as minorities that these attacks, which seem to target Muslim immigrants, aren’t shouldered by the American Muslim or Middle Eastern communities alone. They’re affecting other minorities too.

Understanding Unconditional Love and Forgiveness from The Gospel of Simon

In my book Living Peace: Connecting Your Spirituality with Your Work for Justice (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014), I reveal how the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi shape my work for justice, teaching me the way of peace, love, humility, and service. I talk about how my Franciscan spirituality has been enriched by the teachings of spiritual leaders of other faiths, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar, and human rights activist.

The Box: Solitary Confinement Takes Center Stage

One of six characters in The Box, a new play that debuted at Z Space theater in San Francisco on July 6, Jake Juchau (played by Clive Worsley) presents one image of life in long-term solitary confinement. The play was written by Sarah Shourd, an American journalist who spent 410 days in solitary in Iran after being accused of espionage, and then returned to the U.S. and began conducting research about the domestic uses of solitary confinement.

Are You Adding to The Empathy Deficit?

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. Here’s a quote from my friend Keryl McCord’s Facebook post that explains why:
So tonight I’m calling bullshit on progressives who still think that voting for, well, you know, Voldemort, is okay for progressives because it isn’t. You may want the system to be destroyed but the dogs of war will be unleashed on black and brown people, on Muslims, gays, and women. And if knowing that you still think that’s an option then you are not progressive, nor an ally. You’re just another foot on the neck of the people you supposedly support.

After So Much Killing

Sometimes, words and more words are not only not enough, they are trouble. They are the trouble. Sometimes, when atrocities slash our eyes open, even if only because the dead was people like us, talking new policies in response to the gash of violence is wrong. It channels energies down the drain of no change. When denial has gripped most of society for generations, every word that proceeds from its mouth, every policy proposed, changes the subject, like an addict trying to talk about who does the dishes when his partner wants at last to tell some truth.

Upcoming Event: Disarm Now: We Stand with Nuclear Survivors for Global Justice

August 9th will mark the 71st anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nakasaki. Activists and concerned citizens will stand with survivors of nuclear weapons and all those harmed by nuclear technology by gathering at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, in conjunction with Chain Reaction: a global action for nuclear disarmament, a nonviolent global movement encouraging nuclear disarmament actions by governments and the United Nations.

The Need for a More Radical Solidarity in the Work for Justice based on Spirituality, Mindfulness, and Self-Care.

In Living Peace, I reveal how the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi shape my work for justice, teaching me the way of peace, love, humility, and service. Through interaction with other activists, my Franciscan spirituality has also been enriched by that of others, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. As he shares his reflections on various ways spirituality can nourish social activism.

Stop the Violence!!!!!

Violence, whether physical or built into the economic and political structures of our society, is usually the product of “othering,” in which we fail to see the humanity of an individual or more frequently of everyone who belongs to a certain group. While the most frequent form of othering in the U.S. is racism toward people of color, sexism, homophobia, classism, Islamophobia and antiSemitism, it also in some liberal and progressive circles manifests in the demeaning of all people who are into religion (I call that religiophobia), all people who are part of the 1% (ignoring the many–though just a small minority–who align themselves with social justice and environmental movements), and the police (many of whom try to do a conscientious job of enforcing the laws of our society without bias, even though the dominant ethos in many police forces does in fact validate violence and many such forces do have a culture of racism, sexism and homophobia–but still that doesn’t justify generalizing to everyone in those police forces much less all police everywhere).