21 October 2010

Giving God Thanks and Praise : Aiyisha's Father's Love

Family, just catching up with myself and wanted to pass along this article on Aiyisha's suicide.  Giving God thanks and praise that her father, a PCUSA Pastor, comes out loud and strong about his love of his daughter and declaration against homophobia and heterosexism. 

Aiyisha Hassan
Pray for me that I know the next and best way to reach out to Aiyisha's parents (and grandparents and aunts and cousins who are members of my home congregation).  Since I am staying the course with the PCUSA church, I vowed to call Aiyisha's full name before preaching.  I kept my preaching appointment this past Sunday and called for a moment of silence in her memory.  

What next? I will to be her voice until we meet again.

19 October 2010

Wear Purple Wednesday : To Remember, To Prevent, Lest We Forget

Beloved Womanists* and Community, as a simple gesture of momentous mindfulness, please WEAR PURPLE TOMORROW (10/20/2010) "To Remember, To Prevent, Lest We Forget":

Aiyisha Asilee Lindiwe Hassan, 19
T-SHIRTpurple.jpg tshirt purple image by mictsui196

Justin Aaberg,  15
Billy Lucas, 15
Asher Brown, 13
Seth Walsh, 13
Raymond Chase, 19
Tyler Clementi, 18

There is not enough grief to cover or compensate the loss of life and giftedness no longer dwelling in our midst with the passing of these young people. We must also pause to acknowledge many others who never made the headlines.  Not to pathologize LGBTQI youth, however, one queer youth choosing to take their life instead of live their life is one too many. 

Wear Purple Wednesday has gone viral. "It Get's Better" videos have overrun YouTube with hope. Other consciousness raising and passive activism initiatives have been launched on a grassroots level. Yet, I am compelled to command more from the adult queer community to SHOW queer young people, and all young people, that they are more than okay, they are perfect manifestations of lovable, able, capable human beings. It is time that we COME OUT, LIVE OUT, and BE OUT in our families, communities, jobs, churches, and government. I believe that it is the all pervasive oppression of shame, fear and silence which undermines a message of hope. Hope is best lived, not lipped.

COME OUT to save a young person's life.
What better time to mobilize in numbers and by name to come out from wherever we are closeted?  To whomever we have feared? For whatever reason negotiating survival trumped thriving as out and pr9ud?

LIVE OUT to save a young person's life.
Introduce your "friend" with the most accurate and highest endearing name which best describes your relationship.  If over 30, retire the ambiguous "girl/boyfriend."  If living together or loving together more than two years (give or take the stars in the sky and in your eyes aligning), tell the truth, you are not just "roommates" or "BFFs". 

BE OUT to save a young person's life.
If Gay Pride Parades are your thing, definitely not mine as are also not any kind of parade watching, parade on main streets in feathers or leathers. More than anything, normalize your life and your love. If you have to think about not appearing to be LGBTOI / Queer, it is in that moment that you must push past your fear, shame, negotiation for survival to BE instead of not be your authentic self.

Yes, there are a plethora of gay youth and suicide prevention programs. Still, I believe that to dismantle this burden of hopelessness we will have to come out one by one, albeit en masse, so that young people see us, really see us whole and bold; no longer cowering in the corners and trembling on the fringe. Hope cannot be programmed, hope must be practiced!

Come out! Live out! Be out! to save a young person's life. 

* is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.

18 October 2010

Petition: Clergy (and Academics) Against Bullying

Sign Petition Here: Clergy Against Bullying

Theologians and Academics are encouraged to sign also.

Today, as leaders of Christian communions and national networks, we
speak with heavy hearts because of the bullying, suicides and hate
crimes that have shocked this country and called all faith communities
into accountability for our words or our silence. We speak with hopeful
hearts, believing that change and healing are possible, and call on our
colleagues in the Church Universal to join us in working to end the
violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
brothers and sisters.

16 October 2010

Thank You Note to an Ally

In this week's Washington Posts, ON FAITH, Dr. Valerie Elverton Dixon, Founder of Just Peace Theory . com writes this insightfully moving Ally Affirmation of Queer personhood. 

God's overflowing love and the heterosexual obligation


When receiving gifts, Mama told me to write thank you notes. And so...

Valerie, I receive your offering. My gratitude is reflective from both personal and political discourse -- if even there would be a demarcation.

Thank you for being ally; however, I refer to you as sister. Anyone who clearly advocates for my being for the sake of wholeness of the human community is more than friend -- I call you sister.

I call you sister because our sameness is with each breath and monthliness. 

I call you sister because grits and beans are our comfort foods.

I call you sister because you accept me vertically and verbose; and respect me when I am horizontally reposed with my lover.

I call you sister because in this street fight you hold my earrings and vaseline but dont mind losing yours when fighting alone gets the best of me.

I call you sister because you call on our common Ally in Creator and Christ, Jesus and Justice, Holy Work of Holy Spirit.

I call you sister because we came out the Womb giggling and holding hands; and now facing the Tomb giving so much and holding each other.

I call you sister for not being afraid -- not of me, but of yourself and your sexuality. 

I call you sister for understanding that you need me as much as I need you. 

I call you sister for believing for me and calling others to believe likewise on my behalf that when God created me/Me God still says, "She's good."

In Womanlove and Peace from the inside out...

12 October 2010

Prayer Vigil: Chilean Miners Rescue

Praying for Chilean Miners and NASA Engineers / Rescue Squad. Averaging 2 miners per hour. 15 more hours to go at this rate. The 34th miner should be out by 2p tomorrow.

Calling on the prayer chains to tarry all night long. Lighting prayer candles and singing praise songs on the West Coast til Midnight. Who's praying with me. For them. For their families.  Rescuers and Miners alike.

Oh Lord, hear our prayers.

Follow Live Update:

“Blessed to be Born this Way” | a sermon on John 9:1-12

This Sunday: October 17, 2010:  11a

-- Hope You will Meet Me Here --

West Hollywood Presbyterian Church
Rev. Dan Smith, Pastor
7350 Sunset Blvd. at Martel St.
(between LaBrea and Fairfax)
Los Angeles, CA   90046

Life’s Lessons:
"Blessed to Be Born This Way"
Being differently-abled does not mean one is disabled
in the Kingdom of God and Community of Faith!

This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Raedorah Stewart as our preacher and worship leader!  Raedorah is the first “out” African- American lesbian Candidate for Ministry in our Presbytery – and probably in the whole Presbyterian Church!  She is a powerhouse of a  preacher!

Jesus’ disciples encountered a person who was blind from birth.  They asked “Was it this individual’s sin that caused the blindness, or that of the parents?”  Jesus answered, “It wasn’t anyone’s sin - not this person’s, nor the parents’.  It was to let God’s works shine forth in this person.” --John 9:1-12

"A Hand"
by Alice “Tina” Hawkins a Graduate of Gallaudet College* © 2006

There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can carve a word in air,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can give lift to a prayer,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can trace a song in space,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can light a deaf child’s face.
Though, we can’t hear the spoken word
Or leaves rustling on a tree,
We can hear the beauty
of a word that we can see.
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can make the things you say
Seem soft as rain, hard as stone,
And clear and bright as day.
The spoken word can’t do these things,
But words in signs can be
More vivid and more meaningful,
For they’re something we can see.

*(Gallaudet College is a nationally recognized college
for persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.)

By Hand and Voice I Declare...

... that Aiyisha Hassan did not die in vain. I dedicated this voice of mine and calling of God to make safe the way for LGBTQI-Allies youth in particular, all people, generally. 

 Aiyisha Hassan: 19 Years Old -Suicide In Southern CA 

When I can see better and my tears slow down I will be more eloquent. For now, know that Aiyisha's life will not be disregarded.  My call demands I speak through my pain. I must believe for Aiyisha's family, church family, and myself that in the midst of this hurt God is redemptive. But for tonight, I simply feel and cry and grieve and sigh, for Aiyisha.

Services for
Services in Los Angeles will be on
Wednesday, October 13, at 10am,
at Westminster Presbyterian Church,
2230 W. Jefferson Blvd @ 3rd Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90018.
We are also planning a memorial service in the Bay Area on Saturday, Oct 16th, location to be announced. We ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your church’s scholarship fund for those attending college. We are very grateful for the prayers, calls, visits, and other expressions of sympathy.