*cino Work, Education, Event, People, Three Rivers

Witness for Peace: Difference

…oppression dehumanizes everyone. It is dehumanizing to be diminished by comments and jokes, to have our needs ignored, to be disrespected, and to be treated as an object. It is also dehumanizing to be manipulated by our conditioning, to have our perception be rigidly restricted when it comes to realities outside our lived experience, to be prevented from being moved by human suffering, and to be made immune to someone else’s voice. Whatever social memberships we hold, oppressive social conditioning limits our ability to be fully human. It limits our emotional range, reduces the depth of our empathy, and often keeps us from speaking, listening, loving, and living fully.

Letitia Nieto
Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment

We have curated a series of quotes and writings in a booklet for our Weekly Witness for Peace at the Huss Project; the booklet is given to each attendee as an aid for reflection on what our personal work for peace might look like. We will also publish these pieces throughout the month on our web site.

This week’s reading is an excerpt from “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” in Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider:

Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within that interdependency of strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters. 

Within the interdependence of mutual (nondominant) differences lies that security which enables us to descend into the chaos of knowledge and return with true visions of our future, along with the concomitant power to effect those changes which can bring that future into being. Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged….

Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.

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*cino Work, Education, Event, People, Three Rivers

Witness for Peace: A Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready for Healing

Now, we’ve got to have some changes in this country. And not only changes for the black man, and only changes for the black woman, but the changes we have to have in this country are going to be for the liberation of all people—because nobody’s free until everybody’s free.

Fannie Lou Hamer
“Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free”
National Women’s Political Caucus, 1971

We have curated a series of quotes and writings in a booklet for our Weekly Witness for Peace at the Huss Project; the booklet is given to each attendee as an aid for reflection on what our personal work for peace might look like. We will also publish these pieces throughout the month on our web site.

This week’s reading is below:

A Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready for Healing

by Rev. Dr. Yolanda Pierce

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fullness of the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a band-aid, when the gaping wound requires surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…someone’s beloved son.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness, and the pain that is life in community together.

Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.

Instead…

Let us mourn black and brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every 28 hours.

Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who described him as a demon.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend their garments of privilege and ease, and sit in the ashes of this nation’s original sin.

Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage, and grief pouring from the lips of our neighbors and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of history may increase.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground

Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the language of the unheard.

God, in your mercy…

Show me my own complicity in injustice.

Convict me for my indifference.

Forgive me when I have remained silent.

Equip me with a zeal for righteousness.

Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

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*cino Work, Education, Event, People, Three Rivers

Witness for Peace: Love

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.

Robert Jones, Jr. (@sonofbaldwin)

We have curated a series of quotes and writings in a booklet for our Weekly Witness for Peace at the Huss Project; the booklet is given to each attendee as an aid for reflection on what our personal work for peace might look like. We will also publish these pieces throughout the month on our web site.

This week’s reading is an excerpt from Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by adrienne maree brown:

One thing I have observed: When we are engaged in acts of love, we humans are at our best and most resilient. The love in romance that makes us want to be better people, the love of children that makes us change our whole lives to meet their needs, the love of family that makes us drop everything to take care of them, the love of community that makes us work tirelessly with broken hearts.

Perhaps humans’ core function is love. Love leads us to observe in a much deeper way than any other emotion. I think of how delightful it is to see something new in my lovers’ faces, something they may only know from inside as a feeling.

If love were the central practice of a new generation of organizers and spiritual leaders, it would have a massive impact on what was considered organizing. If the goal was to increase the love, rather than winning or dominating a constant opponent, I think we could actually imagine liberation from constant oppression. We would suddenly be seeing everything we do, everyone we meet, not through the tactical eyes of war, but through the eyes of love. We would see that there’s no such thing as a blank canvas, an empty land or a new idea—but everywhere there is complex, ancient, fertile ground full of potential.

We would organize with the perspective that there is wisdom and experience and amazing story in the communities we love, and instead of starting up new ideas/organizations all the time, we would want to listen, support, collaborate, merge, and grow through fusion, not competition.

We would understand that the strength of our movement is in the strength of our relationships, which could only be measured by their depth. Scaling up would mean going deeper, being more vulnerable and more empathetic.

Photo credit: AK Press

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*cino Work, Education, Event, People, Three Rivers

Witness for Peace: We Need to Learn to Listen

We have curated a series of quotes and writings in a booklet for our Weekly Witness for Peace at the Huss Project; the booklet is given to each attendee as an aid for reflection on what our personal work for peace might look like. We will also publish these pieces throughout the month on our web site.

This week’s reading is an excerpt from Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer:

The Skywoman story, shared by the original peoples throughout the Great Lakes, is a constant star in the constellation of teachings we call the Original Instructions. These are not “instructions” like commandments, though, or rules; rather, they are like a compass: they provide an orientation but not a map. The work of the living is creating that map for yourself. How to follow the Original Instructions will be different for each of us and different for every era….

In the public arena, I’ve heard the Skywoman story told as a bauble of colorful “folklore.” But, even when it is misunderstood, there is power in the telling. Most of my students have never heard the origin story of this land where they were born, but when I tell them, something begins to kindle behind their eyes. Can they, can we all, understand the Skywoman story not as an artifact from the past but as instructions for the future? Can a nation of immigrants once again follow her example to become native, to make a home?

Look at the legacy of poor Eve’s exile from Eden: the land shows the bruises of an abusive relationship. It’s not just land that is broken, but more importantly, our relationship to land. As Gary Nabhan has written, we can’t meaningfully proceed with healing, with restoration, without “re-story-ation.” In other words, our relationship with land cannot heal until we hear its stories. But who will tell them?

In the Western tradition there is a recognized hierarchy of beings, with, of course, the human being on top—the pinnacle of evolution, the darling of Creation—and the plants at the bottom. But in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as “the younger brothers of Creation.” We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn—we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance. Their wisdom is apparent in the way that they live. They teach us by example. They’ve been on the earth far longer than we have been, and have had time to figure things out. They live both above and below ground, joining Skyworld to the earth. Plants know how to make food and medicine from light and water, and then they give it away.

I like to imagine that when Skywoman scattered her handful of seeds across Turtle Island, she was sowing sustenance for the body and also for the mind, emotion, and spirit: she was leaving us teachers. The plants can tell us her story; we need to learn to listen.

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Education, Event

Witness for Peace: When Peace Becomes Obnoxious

*cino is hosting a Weekly Witness for Peace at the Huss Project every Tuesday in October and the first Tuesday in November. Each week, people will gather for 30 minutes in silence while reflecting on what is needed in our community for the work of peace. They will stroll the trails, sit down to meditate or pray, walk the labyrinth to grieve, read to guide reflection—whatever it is they need in the moment to connect with those around our city, our country, and our world seeking real, lasting, and robust peace.

We have curated a series of quotes and writings in a booklet that will be given to each attendee as an aid for reflection; we will also publish these pieces throughout the month on our web site. You’ll find the first piece, an excerpt from a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr., below. These readings are a reminder that peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the lived experience of justice for all in our city—and that working for peace is difficult. For some, these readings may be challenging to encounter; seek to understand your feelings of defense or confusion. For some, they will mirror painful experiences back to you; consider what support you need in order to heal. Reflect on your reaction and what the work of peace in this place might require of you moving forward. 

The silence we provide one another during Weekly Witness for Peace is a recognition that we are committed to doing the hard work of building peace together. It is an act of solidarity with those who are oppressed and those who seek liberation. But it is a very small piece of a larger whole. We hope you find something in your time here that helps you do the work that is yours to do when you leave this place. We need all of our neighbors to work together for the flourishing of our city.

When Peace Becomes Obnoxious

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
March 18, 1956

King delivered this sermon from Dexter’s pulpit the day before his trial for violating Alabama’s anti-boycott law during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56. Below is an excerpt from his handwritten outline for the sermon:

Peace is not merely the absence of some negative force—war, tensions, confusion—but it is the presence of some positive force—justice, goodwill, the power of the kingdom of God.

I had a long talk the other day with a man about this bus situation. He discussed the peace being destroyed in the community, the destroying of good race relations. I agreed that it is more tension now. But peace is not merely to absence of this tension, but the presence of justice. And even if we didn’t have this tension, we still wouldn’t have positive peace. Yes, it is true that if the Negro accepts his place, accepts exploitation and injustice, there will be peace. But it would be an obnoxious peace. It would be a peace that boiled down to stagnant [complacency], deadening passivity.

If peace means this, I don’t want peace:

  • If peace means accepting second-class citizenship, I don’t want it.
  • If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it.
  • If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace.
  • If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace.

In a passive non-violent manner we must revolt against this peace.

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*cino Work, Building, Education, Event, Organization

Accepting applications for FOUR AmeriCorps summer positions

*culture is not optional (*cino)/The Huss Project is looking for four compassionate, creative, hard-working people to join us full-time for 10 weeks this summer as Americorps VISTA Summer Associates! Applicants should be 18 years of age or older, with a passion for serving our Three Rivers community through urban farming, event planning, and youth engagement. The term runs from June 1 – August 9, with a living stipend of $2,395.40 and choice at the end of the term of an education award of $1,311 or a cash stipend of $345. Housing is not available for Summer Associates. Applications are being accepted until May 1 or until all four positions or filled, so apply today through the AmeriCorps web site!

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*cino Work, Leadership, Organization, People

NEW! Huss Project Resident Caretaker Position

A big piece of the future vision for the Huss Project is to have living space for a residential community. Though this goal is still a long way off, we’re very excited to announce a new resident caretaker position.

The caretaker (or caretakers) will live in a sweet, small house just to the south of the Huss property in exchange for taking responsibility for a variety of everyday tasks around the property throughout the year. Based on skills and interests, there’s also an opportunity to take on additional roles with our urban farm and/or the Imaginarium event space.

Visit our position description page for more information about the position and details on how to apply. Applications are due by March 15, 2020. We are very much looking forward to growing our intentional community in this new way and hope you’ll help us spread the word!

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*cino Work, Building, Education, Event, Leadership, Organization, People, Three Rivers

Apply now for our 2020-21 full-year AmeriCorps VISTA positions!

We are now accepting applications for three full-time AmeriCorps VISTA positions. We’re looking for folks who will help us take our work to the next level in the areas of food systems, education, and economic development through the Huss Project, World Fare, and other partners in Three Rivers.

Experience with activities like social research, community development, event planning, education, program development, volunteer coordination, permaculture design, food systems, non-profits … these are the types of things we’re looking for in people who will thrive collaborating at a high level with a grassroots org in a funky, small, Midwest city. We’re looking for people with solid enough experience to function as peer collaborators in creative design toward significant community outcomes, in a spirit of curiosity, joy, and accountability. Here are four words that are floating around for us at the moment as we search:

  • Compassion
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation
  • Detail-orientation

Visit our listing on the AmeriCorps site to submit your application. Applications are open until April 1, but we’re looking to fill these positions as soon as possible to allow our VISTAs to plan for a May 11 start date. The compensation package includes:

  • A living allowance (just over $12,000/year)
  • An educational award (or end-of-service stipend)
  • Health insurance
  • Reduced-cost housing ($250/mo. including utilities)
  • Other benefits

Thank you for your help in spreading the word and please let us know if you have any questions! We’re really looking forward to this next phase of our community’s work in Three Rivers.

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Education, Event, Leadership, People, Three Rivers

*cino co-hosting Martin Luther King Jr. event in Three Rivers

*culture is not optional, in its role as a participating member of the Three Rivers Area Faith Community (TRAFC), is co-hosting a celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 20. Join us at 5:00 at Three Rivers City Hall for a commemorative march from City Hall to First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers (shuttles will be available if you’d like to park at the church first). We’ll then enjoy a potluck meal together at 5:30 before gathering to honor the work of Dr. King at 6:30.

This year’s celebration will feature Pastor Barbara Brown from Grant Chapel, local poets from the First Thursdays Open Mic at Lowry’s Books, the Brandenburg Concert, New Jerusalem praise band, DJ Mitchie Moore, and the Ambassadors for Christ Praise Dancers. A free will offering will support TRAFC’s annual Back to School Celebration at the Huss Future Festival, which supplies free school supplies and bags to area children.

Thank you to all of the participating TRAFC churches and organizations (see below) for making this event possible!

The City of Three Rivers is also hosting a Community Participation Event earlier in the day. Citizens can help guide decisions and strategies for the future of Three Rivers by participating in this interactive gathering to provide feedback and share your thoughts on topics including downtown development, recreation, housing, local aesthetics, and overall city growth.

The work of Dr. King is not finished and his words and actions still resonate strongly more than 50 years after his assassination. Our *cino staff has a tradition of re-reading “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” every year to remember the radical witness of Dr. King, but digging deeper into his speeches and writings is always challenging and rewarding. In his speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence (April 4, 1967),” Dr. King speaks as though he is speaking directly into our current situation:

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

If you’re looking for a great collection of Dr. King’s work to dig into, we highly recommend A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. And, of course, it is always worth hearing Dr. King’s own voice, which you can do by searching YouTube for various speeches and interviews. Here’s a great place to start:

TRAFC Participants

  • Ambassadors for Christ Church
  • Bridges Community Church
  • Center Park United Methodist Church
  • *culture is not optional
  • First Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers
  • First United Methodist Church Three Rivers
  • New Jerusalem Baptist Church
  • St. John’s Lutheran Church
  • Trinity Episcopal Church
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*cino Work, Event, Organization, People

Accepting applications for three AmeriCorps summer positions

*culture is not optional (*cino)/The Huss Project is looking for three compassionate, creative, hard-working people to join us full-time for 10 weeks this summer as Americorps VISTA Summer Associates! Applicants should be 18 years of age or older, with a passion for serving our Three Rivers community through urban farming, event planning, and youth engagement. The term runs from June 3 – August 11, with a living stipend of $2,361.10 and choice at the end of the term of an education award of $1,289.95 or a cash stipend of $346.80. Housing is not available for Summer Associates. Applications are being accepted until noon on May 13 or until all three positions or filled, so apply today through the AmeriCorps web site!

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