No Freedom in Illusion

Some kids are born into situations we could never imagine. By we, I mean people just like ME. And I'm being specific here because there are so many people who don't have to imagine.It. Is. Their. Reality. It's their heritage. It's inescapable for them.I am grateful for who I am,and proud of where I come from. But I refuse to close my eyes, and my heart, to preserve an illusion.I now know we don't all start out in this world equal.No, as for me, I am beginning to see. And I want you to imagine with me. It's going to...

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Why a white girl, working with immigrants, would want to wear a #blacklivesmatter T-shirt

On Sunday morning, I walked into The Waffle House of Bethlehem, Georgia, with my mom, her boyfriend and my three-month-old baby for some greasy, yet delicious, breakfast. In case you weren't familiar, this is a landmark restaurant of the south. The majority of folks in this place were white.As we were leaving, I saw a black guy entering wearing a #blacklivesmatter t-shirt.I made sure to tell him on my way out that I liked his t-shirt. He said thanks and was really warm and friendly, complimenting me on such a cute baby. On the way home, I was thinking how...

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Fall Walks in the Park

after school program baby chamblee crafts dresden park fall fresh fruit georgia god gospel neighborhood neighbors

The world and my neighborhood are ripe with evil and hostility, that is true. But our morning walks remind me of another truth. Each morning the sun rises and shines on every person and the dew falls and refreshes every plant and animal. These daily happenings, along with the sounds of the creek and song of the birds remind me that there is kindness and goodness in the world. It is God's common grace on full display. The concrete spaces are marked with gang graffiti, but somehow, to me, they make all their surrounding that much more beautiful. After Ian has...

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Kuya: White Spirit

The central values of the Christian religion are faith, hope, and love. But dark things squeeze into the gaps, grow over generations, and become the main features for young men and women in our neighborhood. "Bruno" is a stand-in for a lot of kids who live under the fear, shame, or superstitions that get passed down the line. Kids regularly tell us that they see spirits, and almost all the youth we know make an attempt to shake off Christianity. The second track on the new Kuya album, "White Spirit," is about kids being haunted by a faith that has turned into fear...

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New Songs in the Neighborhood

On a muggy night at the end of May, we sat on concrete bleachers with hundreds of parents, teachers, mentors, and friends to watch the class of 2015 graduate. We laughed, screamed until our voices were hoarse, and shed a few tears as our young neighbors walked across the field to shake their principal's hand and receive their diplomas. At this school, 89% of students are economically disadvantaged, and the graduation rate often drops below 50%. Pregnancy, gangs, economic demands, and domestic turmoil all stand between the children of immigrants and refugees and their high school diplomas. Caps flew into...

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