Friday, 29 November 2013

Act! Fast!!

yesterday i had the good honor of having thanksgiving In a tent on the National Mall with Cristian Avila, Eliseo Medina, and Dae Joong Yoon. they have been fasting for 18 days and will not eat until immigration reform make it through the house. i spent about 20 mins with Cristian, and i couldn't stop crying. he is fasting because his father crossed the border illegally years ago. while he was in the US and Cristian was still in mexico, he would send his son stuff. he got a pair of shoes from his dad once, and he wouldn't take them off. they got holes, and he didn't care, he'd fix them. he just wanted to be with near his dad. when he was 9 he moved here illegally. he went to a jesuit school in phoenix (he's a brophy boy) and at some point joined the LDS church. 

he said he never really understood what his father went through until one day saw a documentary. his father won't talk about it, even still. but whatever any of us imagine that journey was, we all know it was horrible. Christan said it woke something up inside of him. that life is to be of giving and sacrifice. if his dad was willing to do that for him, he would do this for the 11 million undocumented people. he is sick of living in fear. he wants to be a marine -- which i told him i would talk him out of for medicine or something-- but it just made me cry. he loves the idea of America.

i've met people all around the world, and everyone has an idea of what America is supposed to be -- and it is a beautiful place. Christan, Eliseo, and Dae believe that we can make the place a reality if we just unite in prayer and fasting and "put our shoulder to the wheel".

its ridiculously humbling! i felt like i was having water with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. i felt like i shouldn't be at the table. the room was filled with people who have been living in the shadows, feeling like their were criminals simply because they want to realize the American dream. its nuts.

Cristian asked me to ask all of my friends to fast this Sunday in solidarity with them and to pray to know what you can do to make these dreams reality. I am. I hope you will join me. And if you are in DC, join me on the Mall at 6 on Sunday for a "fast and testimony" meeting. (3rd and Jefferson)
Here is their declaration:

Fast for Citizenship: The Moral Obligation to Pass Immigration Reform (

What is our faith, our words and our history worth if not translated into action, sacrifice and redemption? The world has witnessed the beliefs and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez translate in courageous acts of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to gain justice for a community of people who were underserved and discriminated against. We now humbly attempt to follow the examples of these great teachers and the teachings of Scripture to align our own hearts with the heart of God, who desires justice for immigrants and immediate justice for the 11 million undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters within our borders. Our faith requires nothing less. Today begins our vow to abstain from sustenance.

Where Cesar Chavez ended his 36 day fast for the rights of farm workers in 1988, we continue decades later to sacrifice our own comfort to underscore the moral crisis afflicting workers, children, mothers and fathers, living under an immigration system unwilling to recognize their existence and the legitimacy of their familial ties with integrity and empathy.

We have heard the word “wait” in the past. Dr. King heard it. Chavez heard it. Gandhi heard it. Our communities of immigrants continue to hear it while they bear witness to families divided by deportations, students trapped in limbo bearing the weight of anxiety beyond their years, and workers brutally exploited and relegated to invisibility.

Yet like them, we refuse to dwell on the frustrations of “wait.” We rise with them and declare our moral obligation, grounded in the words of God spoken through the prophets, to move the compassion of elected leadership in the House, and to inspire a resilient movement to cease the deportations, suffering, sorrow and fear and usher a new structure of laws for the good of our country men and women and the sake of our values.

Our voluntary sacrifice represents the urgency, the passion and commitment of a community of all religions, races, and political affiliations, to enact common sense immigration reform this year.

On this day, we begin our journey. We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans.

Friday, 22 November 2013

the chart that explains what is wrong with the American healthcare system

obvious right??


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Service and Americanism

i've lamented for over 12 years now, that our when the president of the US went to see the smouldering remains of the twin towers and hundreds of dead Americans, he told us to go shopping.  i'd hoped he would have told us to serve each other.  something like:
... so we will not let this attack instill fear into our people. 
terrorism is simply a psychological WMD.   
where fear is, faith cannot exist.   
America is a nation of people who believe in a more perfect union, in peace, and in equality.   
so, i implore every American, dedicate yourself to giving at least 4 hours a week in service to your community.  there is work for all of us to do, its time we set about doing it and show these heathens that we are a civilized, peaceful nation. a place, that many of us believe is destined to be the place on Earth that ushers in a peaceful world, the bulk of us crave.
i challenge every American to sacrifice 10% of their time, talents, and any financial gains to help these victims and then end this violence.  we will NOT fight this blood-thirsty clan of egomaniacal selfish rich kids, with any new taxes.  this must be a war of the people.   
these terrorists are stateless actors.  they are driven by a lust for power and a greed that is unparalleled.  we cannot fight this battle like any other battle.  since it is a psychological agent, the "infection" (terror) is planted in our minds.  the only way to keep that from taking over for each one of us to do what we can to make this country a more perfect union. 
we had a hotly contested presidential election and the country is notably divided.  we will not win this divided.  tonight i'm announcing my intention to create a bi-partisan commission to identify what went wrong with our intelligence community to let this happen, who are these people and how to do we get them, and more importantly how we can unite.  for we must unite or we risk losing what so many who went before gave their lives to protect: the land of the free and the home of the brave. 
let's have dinners, prayer breakfasts, and service weekends now.  and while we are at it, let's create a national strategy to lead the world to peace.  peace is possible, and it is time that those who claim to worship a "Prince for Peace" to stand up and behave like it. 
please, sit down tonight with loved ones and identify what you can do to bring peace and restoration to this country.   
over the course of the following months, we will be listening sessions with various sectors of society to identify how we might partner to usher peace more boldly forward. 
we will stand together.  that is my promise to you.  i was elected to a divided country, but we can unite with compassion towards each other.  because when we stand together, we cannot be beaten. we waste the lives of these humble Americans if we don't. and it will be to our own peril. 
instead, we will reach out in love to each other and weave a net of safety and peace.
12 years later:
  • suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death  for Americans 25-34 years old
  • 3rd leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds
  • 4th leading cause of death for Americans 35-54
  • gun violence is up, mass murder rampages are up
  • even with the massacre of school children american's won't give up their own WMD's
  • "being American" is defined by a list of negative attributes:
    • fat
    • loud
    • selfish
    • entitled
    • bullish
    • gluttonous
    • stupid
stories like this one below can help remind us what it really means to be American.  

we can do better than we are.  isn't it about time?

Friday, 8 November 2013

Groundbreaking Federal Interagency Report on Women and Trauma-informed Approaches

You are invited to download a groundbreaking report, Trauma-informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives—the second and highly anticipated Working Document Report of the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma. Completed on September 30, 2013, the report documents the projects, programs, and initiatives of more than three dozen federal agencies, departments, and offices—one of the largest interagency collaborations in federal government history.  With agencies’ commitment to implementing gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches, this report addresses the growing national interest in this issue, the work of the Federal Partners Committee, and the specific progress that participating agencies have made over the past  three years (2010-2013), since the Committee’s publication of its first report in 2011. This new report, developed with support from SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care, clearly demonstrates the application of trauma-informed approaches across a wide range of settings and systems and encourages other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to implement a cross-sector, interagency, inter-systems’ realization, recognition, and response to trauma.  Download the report through the links below.

The report has been uploaded on two sites from which your agencies may link:

DOJ’s National Institute of Corrections:  

The National Center on Trauma-Informed Care (NCTIC) page on the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD):