The Outer Ring at UMC General Conference

So thankfu for Reverend Hannah Adair Bonner and her commitment to all of God’s children ! Big Crazy Love !

Amidst the concentric circles that sat within The Dome in St. Louis this week, it was the outer ring that leaves my heart hurting most as I walk away. We gathered for this Special Session of General Conference to discuss human sexuality and bring to a conclusion the battle that had raged in the church since the 1970’s. On the floor of The Dome, where football rivalries are usually waged, a different game played out. In the center, on that floor, the voting delegates, elected from around our global church, clergy and laity convened to cast their votes on our Queer family’s place in the church. Around them were the Bishops, and pages, and various support folks given access to the space. Above all that, in the stands, were the Observers, folks like me who had come from far and near to witness what would take place.

Yet, even they…

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Shifting Gears Again 

This is the statement from almost 5 years ago for my New Directions page in this site . I’m updating it trying to get my sites organized again ; y’all know I wrestle with electroland .

I am now entering into the fifth year of my journey back into the creative side of my life and am still seeking new ways to discover myself through the images that surround me and fill me . I’m trying to organize my four year walk with Jenny and Jason Shaffer and their Mission Year Teams who have played such a significant grounding force in my chaotic world , their support has been priceless . And with their leaving another grand adventure begins as Zach and Kate Pollard take up the torch as city directors , two grand hearts for the coming teams . I’ve finished my Celestial pieces and am finishing organizing them for a academia style showing / gallery showing . Back in word mode for a while , but I’m sure I’ll get over it . I’ll be walking with The Art Project Houston Team for a ten week mural project and am going to do The United Methodist Army in July with Brent and Robin Clingerman and gang for the last part of July . Art is in the air everywhere I go , and I go everywhere . Life is good in the creative moment so I try to dance through it …… Big Crazy Love !

Standing Rock 

In August 2016 I started getting post from numerous sources about The Lakota Nation and DAPL having a standoff over right of way for the pipeline across Treaty Land and under the Missouri River . Having been born ninety miles from the Oceti Sakowin Camp , my heart strings were touched . Having grown up in an oil supported family , I learned early the on site damage done by the industry and the greed driven marketing , and so was deeply concerned . 

Having moved back to Texas at six months old , I grew up in the oil fields of west Texas where my father worked . I had never been back to North Dakota always saying I would go when the time was right , and suddenly it felt very right . In September I started making plans for a trip north not having a clue as to how I could do it , so I reached out to a friend whose guidance I trust and went about my daily grind just dreaming about it . October rolled in and things were escalating at Oceti Sakowin , when I get a call from Hannah asking if I was up for the trip north . 

We arrived at Oceti Sakowin about 2 am October 23 , 2016 , exhausted from the drive up and greeted by the cold and wind . Kudos to my travel companions for sharing the misery , really amazing and inspiring women . I had promised not to get arrested on our trip , and being the vehicle owner I was ok with this . I did also tell them I would follow my heart and lens though . Sorry to say I was out the gate shooting and up the road before I realized what I had done and here come Hannah and Blanca into line of sight with the prayer walkers . We all walk on .

    Just now getting these up , more to come soon . Big Crazy Love ! #mniwiconi 

The Super-Virus of White Nationalism

Thank you once again Hannah for your steadfast loyalty to loving all so well I’m so glad things didn’t go south and that the provocateur was just after a photo op and nothing more sinister than spreading fear and hate . They were not about anything but making America great again by making it white . Confused young men they are , making it hard to deal with in their white self righteousness . Still commanded to love them too , hard , hard , hard . Big Crazy Love !

White Nationalism and White Supremacy are not identical beasts. I am not sure if I could explain why, but I could feel it in my bones facing him. It felt as if we have been treating White Supremacy with too many antibiotics and had created a drug-resistant super-virus. It felt as if our desire to sooth the discomfort of the prejudices in our country had led us to ignore the root cause and the growth had festered. My soul aches.

For the past 24 hours, I’ve been highly aware of a spot on my right side, at the bottom of my ribcage. Judging from our respective heights and the position of our bodies, it’s where I imagine the knife that the crowd said they saw in the self-described White Nationalist Nazi’s hand would have gone if a mother holding a baby had not pushed him away from me before people…

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64 Hours for Sandra Bland: The First Night

The word from the front , once again Hannah and her crew are carrying the torch . These gals are aa example for all to take note of … Big Crazy Love !

“You’re going to be arrested tomorrow,” my neighbor said to me solemnly.

Sitting on the front stoop of his house, the street was silent. The laughter and mariachi music from the birthday party down the block had long since morphed into a pile of tables and chairs awaiting pick-up. Only a few neighborhood dogs walking their patrol kept us company as we huddled over my iPhone, watching DeRay McKesson’s Periscope lifestream from Baton Rouge. All of a sudden the shot tilted sideways as DeRay’s phone fell to the ground and an officer seemed to tackle and arrest him. With countless people watching around the country, we were filled with outrage. He had just pointed down to the road lines to show he was not walking in the street or breaking any laws.

Only 250 miles away in Texas, we were preparing for an action of our own. It was Saturday night; the next morning…

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The Distortion of “What Happened To Sandra Bland?”

As usual Hannah is having to set things straight for some confused folk … Big Crazy Love !

The cover article of the May 9-16th issue of The Nation Magazine is an article entitled “What Happened To Sandra Bland?” It takes the words first used by alumni of Prairie View A&M University who were mourning Sandra Bland the week of her death, and ultimately used to express a movement, and repurposes them to make whiIMG_8595te people more comfortable. In a rhetorical move as equally unconscious of bias as the #AllLivesMatter shift, the author uses her platform as a journalist and award-winning author to write an opinion piece masquerading as an investigative piece. The article takes the discomfort that has been rising amongst White liberals and defuses it. It converts it from White responsibility back to White guilt.

It does so not by honoring the intention of the words – a persistent and yet unanswered question – but by delivering the author’s answer.

I was there in the Opal Johnson Smith Auditorium when…

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Yvette Smith Verdict: No Comment Necessary

Thank you Hannah for witnessing what went on in Bastrop District Court and sharing it . It was hard to sit in . Big Crazy Love !

*Photo is of a building about 15 minutes from where Yvette Smith died, off the side of the road near the Bastrop County Line. It is the first significant building drivers see welcoming them to the County. 

Today Judge Albert M. McCaig, a Waller County Judge visiting for one case in Bastrop County, rendered verdict in the murder trial for ex-officer Daniel Willis’s killing of Yvette Smith. Beginning mid-May, he will oversee the trial of ex-officer Brian Encinia on charges of perjury for lying about his arrest of Sandra Bland.

On April 16, 2014, Daniel Willis responded to a 911 call, calmly speaking to a man in the front yard when he got there who told him the situation was diffused. Getting a call on his radio that there was a gun in the house, he went and got his AR-15 assault rifle from his car, stood behind cover in his body…

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The Postmortem Prosecution of Sandra Bland

On February 2, 2016, the world finally got to hear some of the “investigation” interviews concerning the death of Sandra Bland. In audio obtained from the state of Texas and released by the Bland family and their attorneys, an investigator asks inmates who had been in cells close to Sandra nothing of substance beyond repeated questions about whether they thought she could have smoked marijuana in her cell. To which the answer was a clear and confident: no.

This confirmed something many of us have known since Day 1: Officials in Waller County have not been investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding Sandra Bland’s death, they have been prosecuting Sandra Bland in the imaginations of Waller County residents.

They have been doing so in order to avoid their own actual prosecution, because they never believed it would go this far. They never believed that a family in Chicago saying they did not believe their…

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Congresswoman to DOJ: Investigate Death of Sandra Bland

Thanks once again to Hannah for her steadfast pursuit for justice in this case and all the others working so hard to make a difference . Big Crazy Love !

On December 22, 2015, a politician told the truth.

You may not have heard about it. It did not make headlines. Truth, especially the kind that makes people uncomfortable, is not quite as appealing for the news to cover as a white man with a famously pompadour-style comb-over insulting people to the cheers of his fans. In the midst of a political season that is playing out more like a reality series, the truth, as with many good deeds, goes unnoticed. We must change that.

On December 22, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations told the truth when addressing herself to Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the letter seen below. In telling the truth, she renewed her demands once again that the Department of Justice do a comprehensive and transparent investigation of the events and circumstances surrounding the arrest and death…

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The Whistling Sheriff: Sandra Bland Grand Jury

And so the saga continues as justice slowly moves its lead feet on … Big Crazy Love !

“It wasn’t me. It was her! It was her!,” Sheriff R. Glenn Smith joked, Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 4.15.25 AMpointing at Officer L. Watts, a female, African American Officer on his force. It was individuals like Officer Watts that Sheriff Smith had referred to repeatedly in the media when arguing that there could not have been any racial component in Sandra Bland’s arrest and death because not all his staff was white.

On hard benches outside of the District Courtroom on the third floor of the Waller County Courthouse sat several Sandra Bland supporters, Officers from the Waller County Sheriff’s staff, and several members of the media. Many familiar faces sought or avoided eye contact as the same officers who had walked past those holding vigil for Sandra Bland now had to sit across from them while members of the press, who had once sweltered in the July heat, typed away on their laptops only…

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