Archive for the 'quote of the day' Category

Quote of the day: POWER

February 22, 2018

POWER

I learned that I’m powerful because I don’t have to say much to be heard.

–Mary J. Blige

Quote of the day: ALLIES

February 19, 2018

ALLIES

Privileged people often ask me what they can do, and I think the idea of accompaniment is greatly underestimated: maybe I can’t help, but I can just be with this person while she sells papers. Recently Hyatt Hotel housekeepers in Boston asked people to show up to their protest for higher wages and better working conditions. If someone from an advantaged background walks in a picket, it might spark a moment of connection with those workers. And if the police come along and treat the protestors like dirt, this advantaged person will have his or her eyes opened.

Over the years I’ve participated in eviction blockades. When the police arrive to put a renter out on the street, some of us stand on the steps of the house and risk arrest, while others are just there to witness. I’ll invite people I know to come along for this experience. I want them to see it. If they ask what good it will do, I’ll say, Just come along. Sometimes our presence is enough to stop the eviction. Sometimes it goes through anyway, but we witness it, and this deepens our understanding and our empathy.

Q: How can people go further than just accompanying and become an ally?

Being an ally means actually leveraging your privilege to intervene in a situation or dismantle structural inequality. If you’re not sure how to do this, ask the people you’re trying to help. Let them tell you, Here’s what it means to be an ally in this situation. Here’s the code of conduct. That’s very important.

For example, in Montana a group of women, galvanized by a picture of a dead Syrian-refugee child, got a resettlement agency to come to their state, which has historically been unfriendly to refugees. Now they have a nonprofit in Missoula called Soft Landing, which provides services like driver’s education and English-language classes to refugee families. It also educates the Missoula community about the refugee crisis and how to extend welcome to all. This organization, which has more than six hundred volunteers, was started by a woman who had no background in activism or politics.

–Chuck Collins, interviewed by Megan Wildhood in The Sun,  February 2018 (“Separate and Unequal: Chuck Collins on How Wealth Divides Us”)

Quote of the day: BROTHERS

November 12, 2017

BROTHERS

When his brother and sister, Hunter and Ashley, stood up to give their eulogies [for Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2014 at age 46], I don’t know how they did it, but I’ve never been prouder of them in my life. Hunter, who’s a beautiful writer, said: “My first memory of Beau was when I was 3 years old.” They were in the hospital [following the death of their mother and baby sister in a car accident]. Hunt had a skull fracture, almost every bone in his body was broken. And Beau, just 4, in the next bed, held his hand and kept saying: “Hunt, I love you. Look at me. I love you, I love you, I love you.” At the funeral Hunt said in 42 years that “he has never stopped holding my hand.”

I want readers to know that there are people like Beau in this world.

–Joe Biden, interviewed by Philip Galanes on the occasion of publishing his memoir Promise Me, Dad

                   Joe Biden with his sons Hunter, left, and Beau, in the early 1970s.

Quote of the day: GROWTH

November 6, 2017

GROWTH

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

–Alice Walker, Living By the Word

Quote of the day: UNIQUE

October 20, 2017

UNIQUE

So much time has gone by! Napoleon’s house—
He never came—still stands in the Quarter.
Time ends all the good living that
Louis the Sixteenth, after the trouble, never
Experienced, all the sights Andrew
Jackson never saw in Pirate’s Alley.
Ask the alligators about heat and history.

Out in the bayous we met a small alligator
Named Elvis. When we stroked his throat, he waved
His left claw at the world. It makes you think.
Alligators enjoy a world before the alphabet.

I don’t want to be who you are! I want
To be myself, someone playing with language.
Let us each be a sensualist
Of the imponderable! Let’s each do
What we want. I thread my way
Down alphabets to the place where Elvis is.

–Robert Bly, “The Day We Visited New Orleans”

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