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Link: Dear President Hargis.

^ How not to respond institutionally to racist threats of violence.

^ How to uplift your voice as a marginalized student.

^ A reminder that token diversity is not a solution to racism.

^ That emphasizing order and respectability is a way to enforce power and deflect responsibility.

^ That without cultural and institutional commitments to zero tolerance toward threats and violence and those who seek to intimidate and hurt others, students will feel unsafe and efforts to increase diversity will seem self-congratulating and disingenuous.

Share this letter.

I curated these resources by someone’s request. Perhaps they may be helpful to you.

Reading

St. Louis, Ferguson, and North County

How Municipalities in St. Louis County, MO. Profit from Poverty – Radley Balko

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

The relationship between aggressive policing, race, and poverty.

“I am Darren Wilson”: St. Louis and the Geography of Fear – Sarah Kendzior http://qz.com/284383/i-am-darren-wilson-st-louis-and-the-geography-of-fear/

Why people support Darren Wilson and how fear differs by geography and race in St. Louis

After Ferguson: St. Louis’ Decaying Black Suburbs are about to be Forgotten. Again. – Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/ferguson-st-louis-suburbs-poverty-110363.html#.VLXzOXs2CT9

Ferguson and its relationship to the rest of North County

There’s Another Community Upset in St. Louis over a Senseless Killing – Sarah Kendzior & Umar Lee

http://qz.com/308348/theres-another-community-raging-in-ferguson-over-a-senseless-killing/

The death of a Bosnian immigrant in the context of the Ferguson racial equality movement and the importance of intersectionality.

Ferguson and Theology

A Sad Night for America – Jim Wallis http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/11/25/sad-night-america

The President of Sojourners: Faith in Action for Social Justice magazine responds to the lack of indictment for Michael Brown’s case.

#FergusonTheology: “What about Personal Responsibility?” – Dean Mike Kinman

http://cccdean.blogspot.com/2014/12/fergusontheology-what-about-personal.html

The importance of context in understanding systemic sin

Observing Yom Kippur in the Shadow of Ferguson – Antonia Blumberg http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/03/ferguson-yom-kippur_n_5921378.html

Repentance and Forgiveness on the Jewish Day of Atonement in the context of anger and distrust

Theology of Ferguson Blog https://medium.com/theology-of-ferguson

First Person Accounts

Dear Mr. President: a Letter from Tef Poe – Tef Poe / Kareem Jackson http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/2014/12/dear_mr_president_a_letter_from_tef_poe.php

What a disillusioned activist who voted for Barack Obama wants from the President.

Welcome to the “gas chamber”: a first-person account of Mokabe’s on the morning of 11/25/14 – Valeria M. Souza https://valeriamsouza.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/welcome-to-the-gas-chamber-a-first-person-account-of-mokabes-on-the-morning-of-112514/

The experience of being tear-gassed at a Safe Sanctuary.

Deacon Kevin McGrane’s Reflections on St. John’s as a Sanctuary http://www.towergrovechurch.org/news/2014/12/13/deacon-kevin-mcgranes-reflections-st-johns-sanctuary

Narrative and theological reflection on what it looks like for the church to be in solidarity with its community.

Theological Foundations

God is Black ; The Cross and the Lynching Tree – James Cone

A Theology of Liberation – Gustavo Gutierrez

Letter from a Birmingham Jail – Martin Luther King, Jr. http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/king.pdf

Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theologies from the Underside – Mary Potter Engel & Susan B. Thistlethwaite (eds)

A comprehensive reader of subaltern/liberation theologies including God is Black (Cone)

Left Bank Books List

Black Lives Matter Reading List http://www.left-bank.com/black-lives-matter

Community-curated books and online content

Thisisthemovement Mailing List

Subscribe: http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=81643c9592bb041cc8a4ea614&id=389b94819d

Twitter

@nettaaaaaaaa

@deray

@faithinferguson

Groups

The Organization for Black Struggle http://obs-stl.org/ & https://www.facebook.com/obsnow

Don’t Shoot Coalition http://www.dontshootstl.org/

St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition http://www.prayingwithourfeet.org/ & https://www.facebook.com/ClergySTL

Hands Up United http://www.handsupunited.org/ & https://www.facebook.com/handsupdontshootunited

Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment http://www.organizemo.org/ & https://www.facebook.com/organizemo

Connected for Justice (formerly Ferguson Beyond Today) http://connectedforjustice.com/

Events

Watch Selma in theaters.

Check out Pruitt-Igoe Myth film from library.

Wednesday, January 21st 2015, 7:00pm: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Reading Group Discussion at Left Bank Books at 399 N. Euclid, 63108. Contact jonesey@left-bank.com, or call at 314-367-6731.

Check for event updates:

http://www.handsupunited.org/

http://connectedforjustice.com/events

http://fergusonevents.org/wp/

Reform & Updates

St. Louis County Prosecutor McCulloch sued by grand juror “Doe” and NAACP http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/grand-juror-sues-mcculloch-says-he-mischaracterized-wilson-case & http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/morning_call/2015/01/naacp-seeks-investigation-of-grand-jury.html

Civilian Oversight Review Board bill introduced http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/bill-would-create-long-awaited-civilian-oversight-board-st-louis-police

St. Louis to Forgive about 220,000 Warrants for Nonviolent Municipal Offenses http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-to-forgive-about-warrants-for-nonviolent-municipal-offenses/article_7f9dbef3-7409-5e81-ae28-3c79faa8b147.html

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It’s grill time.

Summer time is a great time to grill things. It’s kind of counter-intuitive if you think about it– why would you put things on hot flames when it’s already super hot outside? But if winter makes you want to stay inside and snuggle with a warm drink and a book, summer makes you want to bask in the sun and set food on fire.

Good news for those who are too lazy to put work into cooking, like me! Grilling and putting things in hot boxes is super easy!

Here are some recipes.

1. Corn

Take corn in husk. Rip off the ugly brown hair that resembles Jimmy Neutron’s ‘do. Rub and wash the outside. Put on a grill, and close the lid. Wait until parts of the husk are the color of cardboard and you smell corn. Take the corn off. Remove husk and corn hair. Eat corn.

No grill? Heat oven to 350 degrees F, do same process and put corn in a middle rack for 30 minutes.

Inspired by this recipe.

Feel free to season with olive oil or butter, salt & pepper, or whatever else you like to put on corn.

2. Tomatoes.

Wash. Put each on squares of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put on grill and cover. Wait until you can’t stand it and must know what Santa brought you because you were nice all year. Look inside the foil. Has the tomato sweated? If yes, eat.

No grill? Heat oven to 350 degrees, wash tomatoes, slice into 1/2 inch slices, drizzle w/ olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in aluminum foil container or glass pyrex or cookie sheet. Put in oven. It will probably be done in 20 minutes, but it really doesn’t matter. You will want it to look like it doesn’t want to stand anymore and that it just wants to be in your mouth.

3. Bell peppers or poblano peppers.

Wash. Put on grill and cover. Wait until the outside has charred. Take it off the grill (with tongs if you want to keep your hands). Gingerly peel off the outside charred skin (or hastily if you don’t want to keep your hands). Remove seeds and eat.

You can do that same in an oven. Probably at 350 degrees as well.

Feel free to season with olive oil, salt & pepper, or whatever else you like to put on peppers.

4. Artichokes.

Wash, with strokes in the direction of the leaves. It’s a thistle. It will ouch you. Cut in half and don’t hurt yourself. Put on a cookie sheet or aluminum foil pan or pyrex. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. and put face down. Add enough water to fill the container 1/4 inch. Take foil, press down on the top of the artichokes. Put in oven heated to 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.

Inspired by this recipe.

Jenna Marbles describes her love and recipe for artichokes here. It’s got some colorful language.

This is a picture of an artichoke when it grew in my backyard. This is what happens if you let it grow without picking it and eating it. artichoke

This is how to show it who’s boss. It may make your tomatoes slightly bitter, but the artichoke will be beautiful.

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This is the profile picture of a corn I had roasted in the oven. It’s topless because summer.Snapshot_20130611_1

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First impressions of Eden Theological Seminary:

  • It looks almost as Hogwartsian as Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Despite the small size of its program, students at Eden have private lives. Everyone does not know everything about everyone else. However, they do have an intimate community and people do feel close to one another. A student said it like this: “As ministers, we have learned the importance of privacy and keeping things in confidence.” I think a certain social work program could take a leaf out of Eden’s book in this respect… not naming names or anything… ;)
  • Eden students are good at singing. Not quite as good as Church of Christ students, who crawl out of the womb singing in perfect harmony, but close. I sat in on a choir rehearsal and the person conducting said, “Now make sure to get that hiccup– that hiccup of air is really crucial to the song,” all the while insistently pointing his finger at his ear to make sure that we really listen to the pitch of his voice (which by the way, had an incredible range like Nick Pitera).
  • Eden is open and affirming, or at least tries to be. Christopher Grundy, a professor of music, spoke about how a song he composed for Transfiguration Sunday was inspired by his experiences with getting to know an individual who was transgendered at a United Church of Christ camp. The lyrics speak to the idea of changing one’s appearance to align God’s intended vision for a person with the person that everyone else sees. After singing the song, Grundy said, “Lots of hymns can be queered,” to which multiple people in the audience responded with Amens and clapping. Not a single boo was heard. Unfortunately, I have heard from a member of the LGBT community that Eden talks the talk, but does not always walk the walk. This sounds like an area of improvement and an indication of a greater need to strengthen bridges between the Eden community and members of the LGBT community outside of Eden.

Transfigure me so that I might be

more like Jesus, more like Jesus

transfigure me so that I might be

more like Jesus, Jesus my light

/

Take me up to the mountain

shine your light down on me

’til the person you have always intended

is the person everybody can see

  • Wi-fi is hard to get. At least the times I’ve tried. Come on, Eden! It’s the 21st century! I can get a password to enter Internet in the on-campus apartments, but connecting as a guest outside of the apartments was difficult.
  • Eden is a bit difficult to access via public transportation. There is one bus stop right outside, and you can walk to another bus stop, but you need to take a bus to the Shrewsbury Metrolink in order to get most places.
  • Webster Groves is cute! There was a cafe called “Cyranos” and even though I haven’t read the play, but just knowing that the cafe is there makes my little nerdy heart feel a little fluttery.
  • People park on the lawn.
  • Students have convection ovens. What in the world are those? Apparently they can also function as microwaves. And if you are smart enough, you can also bake in them. But I still don’t know what that means.
  • THERE ARE STRIPED TULIPS ON CAMPUS OH SPRING HOW I LOVE THEE
  • Seminary students are friendly and nice, and there is age diversity.
  • If you get married on campus in the summer, prepare for temperatures over 100 degrees and to bake in the chapel.
  • You can study policy in seminary. There are advocacy settings for contextual education.
  • Seminary students don’t just do navel gazing. One student I met was writing a paper on the cost of war, and how the US exports more arms than a bunch of other nations combined. We are the police force of the world, partly because war is an economic driver and it’s expensive and not popular to take care of our veterans. Should that be the case? Hm…
  • Seminary students also do navel gazing. Seminary papers are often 20 pages long, often including personal reflection. When I asked about the last time students cried, the answer was that it’s not so much common to cry during class, but after class, not just from adjustments in personal life, but also because of what people are realizing about themselves from the classes, writing and reflections they are doing.
  • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies is more for people who are pretty sure what they want to do with their lives, often with jobs already in place. A Master of Divinity is more open and flexible, but with more history and theology, so I am thinking of switching from MAPS to MDiv. So… maybe if I ever decide I should get ordained….
  • Many students are here from a variety of paths and some as second careers, ranging from being an art student, voice student, bank teller to architect. I like that. In social work, you are likely to find certain professions not being represented– I’m thinking mainly of business and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and I think we lose out on important insights and lessons whenever there is less diversity (goes for age, race, ethnicity, ability, professional background, academic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, etc.).

Unrelated: Of course I would have a seed and a piece of a chip stuck in my teeth in my first picture at Eden.

It doesn’t really hurt.

This post is about what to expect during a well-woman’s exam.

If you don’t care or don’t want to know, scroll down for my love affair with muesli (a traditional Swiss breakfast dish).

Attire

You’re going to strip. Don’t bother wearing anything that’s difficult to take off. You will get something that seems like the product of a threesome between an apron, a Snuggie and a dish rag. I know reproduction doesn’t work that way– work with me here.

You will put your arms through the Snuggie portion (sleeves are t-shirt length), drape the apron portion over your torso and lap and then attempt to tie the apron portion behind yourself. It will not be the warmest garment you’ve ever worn (hence the dish rag aspect). You will get a curtain to change behind, which is a nice gesture. You will also get a large napkin-like sheet (like the bib used in dentist’s office) to drape over your lap.

Questions

Are you on birth control?

Do you like guys or girls or both? (Not always asked, but will be asked by good providers.)

Have you ever been pregnant?

What was the date of your last period (start date only)?

Have you ever thought about contraception? If not, know that it is available and covered if you should ever consider it (thanks to the Affordable Care Act).

Have you ever had any pain when urinating or funny discharge?

Exams

Breast

You will take one arm out of its sleeve at a time. You will bend it and lay it by your head as you’re laying down, like you’re in class, but your teacher is on the ceiling and your chair is laying on the floor. You will be poked on your breast and told that “it’s good to become familiar with your breast” and that some lumpiness is normal. Lumps that are not normal are harder and do not hurt when you push them– you should get not normal lumps checked out because you know… cancer. You will be told that breasts will feel different if they are bigger. You will silently say, “Thank you for reminding me” and remind yourself that it’s okay, because you can jog anytime you want, without having bags of chest fat slapping yourself in the face.

Pelvic

If you have never done a pelvic exam, you will be introduced to the instruments that are about to enter your body. The most intimidating instrument is the “speculum,” which looks like a plastic duck. If you are petite or your vagina has never been penetrated, there may be smaller speculums available.

Plastic Duck

Another instrument is a strange item, the name of which I do not know, but I will call it the Scepter of Magicalness, simply because it looks like something that King Triton’s brother must have had. The other instrument is something that looks like a cousin to the tiny brushes that dentists use to clean tooth gaps.

Scepter of Magicalness

Tooth Gap Cousin inside Plastic Duck

The Scepter of Magicalness and Tooth Gap Cousin will go into your cervix to collect cells to check if you have cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is commonly caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is common among both males and females, especially among those who are sexually active. HPV is so common that it is even found among those who have had only one sexual partner (even if married). It can cause genital warts and anal cancers as well. There is an awesome HPV vaccine that can drastically reduce your chance of getting HPV, given in three shots over six months. If you have friends with kids, let them know that ages 11-12 years old is the best time to get this vaccine.

You will put your butt on the edge of the “table” like you’re about to fall off and put your legs in stirrups. It will not feel like you are riding a horse. You will think about all the TV shows you’ve watched where someone gives birth. You will lie down and think it is silly that you have a large napkin covering the places where the doctor is looking, but you will be thankful for the gesture and the intent of dignity.

The doctor will talk you through the exam (if they are a good doctor) and they will tell you that the speculum is going in, and that you should feel swishing from the Scepter of Magicalness and the Tooth Gap Cousin, although they will not use my highly scientific medical terminology. They will tell you that you may experience some cramping. They might not be able to find your cervix, which is when they will move the speculum around. This part might be uncomfortable, but there is nothing that should hurt. Try to breathe and relax.

Then they will remove the speculum and then tell you that they will use two gloved fingers to check your ovaries (bimanual exam). You will marvel at how they can feel your ovaries from your vagina. This part is less uncomfortable than the speculum, unless you are more disturbed by fingers than hard plastic. I don’t know what to tell ya, kid. Early prevention, rocks?

At one point, you may be told to lie down so that your doctor can press your stomach at different points. I don’t remember what this was for, because I was too busy wondering whether or not there is a medical term for ticklishness.

Fun fact of the day: your first well-woman’s exam of the year is covered by the Affordable Care Act.

More on the HPV vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

HPV vaccines are recommended for 11- or 12-year-old boys and girls. HPV vaccines are safe and effective, and can protect males and females against some of the most common types of HPV that can lead to disease and cancer. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses to get the best protection. Boys and girls at ages 11 or 12 are most likely to have the best protection provided by HPV vaccines, and their immune response to vaccine is better than older women and men.

  • Girls and women: Two vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil) are available to protect females against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. One of these vaccines (Gardasil) also protects against most genital warts, and has been shown to protect against anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Either vaccine is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls, and for females 13 through 26 years of age who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. These vaccines can also be given to girls beginning at 9 years of age.
  • Boys and men: One vaccine (Gardasil) is available to protect males against most genital warts and anal cancers. Gardasil is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old boys, and for males 13 through 21 years of age who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men should receive the vaccine through age 26 years. Males 22–26 years of age may also get the vaccine.”

The HPV vaccine is covered by the Affordable Care Act, and you can find a list of other covered vaccines here.

Time for muesli!

Muesli is a traditional Swiss breakfast that was made by a doctor who wanted something to feed to his patients that was quick, easy to make, easy to store and nutritious. It is traditionally made with oats, dried fruits and milk or orange juice. I made it because I was a) inspired by JoytheBaker and b) am always running out the door with no time to make breakfast, which often results in me doing things like shoving oranges and chocolates in my face. My version includes a layers of toasted oats, untoasted oats, toasted flax seeds, honey, untoasted quick oats, strawberries and vanilla almond milk.

I filled jars with these layers, then added almond milk to the top. The mixture will soak up the almond milk, so just fill to the point that you will eat and keep the jars in the fridge for at least two hours so the oats can soften and get creamy and so the flax seeds can thicken and get a gel-like coating (in JoytheBaker’s recipe, she uses chia seeds). It’s super delicious and good for you. I’m hardly restraining myself from eating them as a snack. I don’t have a picture of the soaked muesli because it’s just that delicious.

There will be bubbles from the dry mixture drinking up the vanilla almond milk. When the muesli is soaked for at least two hours in the refrigerator, the mixture expands and all layers press together in creamy goodness. YUM.

Protip: to toast oats, spread them evenly on a baking sheet in an oven set to 275 degrees. 250 degrees wasn’t fast enough for me and 350 threatened to burn them. 275 should be fine. To toast flax seeds, use a hot skillet, but be careful– flax seeds jump! Why? They’re full of linseed oil, and you know what oil does in a skillet… so feel free to moderate the temperature as needed or just stir often and don’t be heartbroken over the stray seeds that decided to jump ship. You can also toast flax seeds in an oven and there are instructions online, but I haven’t tried that, and I don’t know what happens in the jumping situation in that case.

Dry Muesli

Muesli with Almond Milk

You deserve some sunshine.

I know, I know, it was rude and callous of me to demand your money (although your contribution is tax-deductible). I can’t help it– I’m a graduate student living off loans and a fellowship stipend. I just got back from an academic conference last week, so I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping, and frankly, didn’t want to spend the money.

I’m eating pizza for a week.

The best part? I’m lactose intolerant!

But don’t worry, I have lactase pills. Even so, I can tell my body is angry at me. My stomach feels like a large water balloon. For the sake of frugality, I am feeding myself poison. Now that I know what suffering feels like, I should probably be nicer to you.

In the spirit of crowdfunding, I’m taking a leaf from Kickstarter and offering some rewards for donating to Team Equality.

This is because I know that we give not because we’re wonderful people, but because it feels so dang good! Altruism is selfish, and that’s okay… because I plan to take full advantage of that.

My feel-dang-good rewards are as follows:

SUPPORT WITH…

$10: A handwritten thank you card. Anyone who has received one of these from me knows that they are one of a kind, filled with drawings and flattering compliments and poems and sunshine.

$20: A handwritten thank you card and a video of me extolling your virtues. If you need this addressed to your mom, your partner, your supervisor, or anyone else who never thinks you are good enough, this can be arranged. If you are local or lucky, I can also throw some baked goods or a fair trade gift that supports the artisan that made it into the deal. I know. We’re getting fancy. Is anyone else starting to think of the 12 days of Christmas song?

$50: A handwritten thank you card, a video of me extolling your virtues and a baked good or fair trade thang. Possibly cookies. If you are gluten-free, I will procure this from the nearest local hippie grocery store.

$75: A handwritten thank you card, a video of me extolling your virtues and a gift from a comic book shop. Maybe you want a comic book. Or you’re a Doctor Who fanatic. Or you think Totoro is your Spirit Animal. I will do my best to satisfy your geeky tendencies.

$100: A handwritten thank you card, a video of me extolling your virtues and picks from the Historical Soulard Farmer’s Market. They are my all-time fave. I would live there, if they had showers.

SUPPORT above that: I will seriously consider an offer of marriage, a civil union, or a very intense 3 minute unblinking gaze. This could get weird. In all honesty, if you are donating above $100, I would love to have a 30 minute conversation about life, love, your hopes and dreams, the weather and how to become the Queen of England without marrying into the family (Corgis are so cute).

Please email me at karen.lynn.yang[at]gmail[dot]com with your address and the amount you donated to receive these gifts. If your gift requires shipping, I ask that you donate $10 above the amount– I do not receive any of this money, but this just ensures that I don’t go broke through shipping requirements. If you cannot donate $10 above the amount, but still want gifts from your category and also require shipping, please give me three good sentences begging for the gifts and I will consider your request. If you want a different gift, please let me know and I will consider it. I have never made a rainbow cake or rainbow jello before and it seems fun.

Thanks for reading, loves!

*slow wink*