Archive for the ‘community’ Tag


It began when a group of six women quarantined in our senior apartments at the Waters of Excelsior here in Minnesota decided to establish regular Zoom meetings to respond to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s televised challenge to” make something happen.”Then we were joined by two somewhat freer friends on the outside. We interpret his challenge to mean “Get on the stick and do something to help with the Black Lives Matter movement and all that involves.”

We intend to go beyond just learning how our white advantage contributes to the situation, but to dive deep into understanding the history and current reality of it. Email exchanges between meetings have contributed to a flood of information and personal challenges that we know have only brought us to the brink of deep knowing. Out of this we hope to help “make something happen.”

At this point some folks have become aware of what we are doing and ask – with varying degrees of approval – questions that can be boiled down to “Why do you care?” In this blog we are sharing the answers we are currently prepared to give. Maybe our answers will change, even improve, as we go along, but this is where we are now.


I want to try to do something to heal our country and acknowledge the systematic racism in our society and how I contribute to its flourishing.
Sharon Buntin


I chose to get involved with learning more about racism following the George Floyd murder and its aftermath. It brought into clear focus for me that for centuries, racism or white advantage has strangled freedom for blacks. I want to learn how I contribute and what I can do to support societal change.

Jane Morgan


I want the world to heal following the death of George Floyd. But first I need to educate myself regarding white privilege.

Bonnie Marsh


All the major religions require us to love our neighbors. So let’s practice that.

Judy Crawford


I am heartbroken over the state of our country — racism and its resulting inequities, polarization and hatred.  It is simple.  I want a better world for my grandchildren.  A world in which there is peace, respect, a sense of community, and work for the common good.  As Micah writes so beautifully — “What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

Dianne Franz


My life matters only if black lives matter. I can’t stand the compassionate pain I’m suffering. I have to do something.

Mona Gustafson Affinito


Taking my whiteness for granted with all the easiness in life that it brings, I am now more aware than ever of what this means in the lives of all my friends of color and those out there that I do not know. I can relate to them in more depth of understanding, after realizing that unrealized racism permeates my very being, unaware that I was about this in the past.  Even while raising a black daughter, I was not deeply aware of all her feelings and issues, ‘tho we did seek counseling together as a family. I also have a bi-racial son and daughter who are now in their 60’s, and discussing with them just last week topics of racism has been a clear way for me to explore my own feelings and beliefs.

Rhoda Brooks


No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Quoting John Donne

Lisa Neun












Not a big deal, or maybe it is. No, it really is petty, but I have a gripe today – well, I have it often, but it was evoked today with my trip to Curves. I’m so far from being athletic you could say I extend the normal curve like a snake way off to the left. But I do try to get to Curves three times a week for what amounts to a workout.

If you’re familiar with the place, you know there is a large circle of workout machines. (I think 12. Next time I go I’ll count them.) In between there are “recovery stations” where you can do whatever you want – walking or jogging in place, flinging your arms around, bending and stretching – whatever. And it’s all timed. 30 seconds on a machine, 30 seconds on recovery.

For most of us who pay the small extra fee, the intensity of our workout is recorded on a computer which, at the end of two plus cycles, tells us how we did. Something to strive for. As for me, the hard part is getting myself there. The joyful part is seeing the end.

So, about community and closeness. If I were doing a more serious blog, I’d be ranting about the importance of encouraging community, cooperation, empathy, working together, appreciating each other’s differences, overcoming greed. In other words, I think community is our hope for the future and appreciation of things past.

But It also means respect for our individuality. And that’s what set me off today. When I arrived this morning, there was one other person working out, so I chose to start on a machine at a distance from where she was so as not to crowd her. I was happily (well, dutifully) working my way around the circuit when another woman arrived and started her circuit right next to me. Now, if there ‘s a huge crowd there, options are few. Bu she had plenty of room.

What it meant was I had to stand and wait for her to finish, or work my way around her to a different spot – not the best way to keep the computer informed.

Actually, she seems to be a lovely lady. So what is it when people seem not to be aware they are crowding others?

Now that I’m on a roll, how about the light at the intersection of highways 41 and 5? (Or wherever your example may be.) Those of us who drive there often know the green light lasts just long enough for three, maybe four cars to get through. I’m OK with that. It’s a busy intersection. But I do try to be alert if I’m first in line so I move as soon as I’ve taken a quick look left to make sure no one is running the red light against me. I’m not perfect at it, but it seems to me like an act of respecting other people’s need to get through the intersection. My gripe? Folks who are first in line who seem not to be aware that the fate of others depends on them and, for want of a better word, dawdle for one reason or another. Leaving those a few cars behind them waiting again through the whole cycle before they can get through.

One more example of failure to respect personal space. The person whose own personal space is minimal, so he or she drives you into a corner as you try to maintain your polite distance in a conversation.

I know. I know. Cultural differences. Even neurological differences. For my classes when we were on the topic of personal space, I often cited the difference between my Swedish heritage of greeting people with a handshake that produces a separation of approximately three feet. (Try it) Compared to my welcoming Italian heritage in-laws who greeted me with a kiss on the lips – or at least in the vicinity. I learned to appreciate the closeness, though I suspect they never understood the Scandinavian stand-off-ish-ness (literally.)

But why couldn’t the woman at Curves have chosen to start a few machines away from me this morning?

p.s. I’m almost positive the woman in question will never see this blog, and wouldn’t recognize herself if she did. Therefore I feel safe in making this public.


Remember? What has changed.   6 comments

I’m in the middle of reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” I wish I had someone — or many — right here with me to discuss it. In that light, I couldn’t help appreciating this article in my e-mail this morning. Long, but oh so thoughtful, and thought provoking. See what Congressman John Lewis has to say.

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