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Let’s keep the moral arc bending toward justice

drmlkjr

“Martin Luther King Jr, Birmingham Alabama, 1963,” by Ernst Haas.

Quiet here of late, getting accustomed to resuming ordinary life, offline and on, in the wake of my dad’s return whence he came 92+ years ago.  The picture above and the links below repeat a post some years back in honor of the Revered Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life has been such an inspiration to me.

Inspiration how? I came of political age working all my spare collegiate hours in a student group entitled the Martin Luther, King, Jr. Convocation Day Committee (lovingly referred to as the MLKCDC). When I dropped out of school for a nine month period, these spare hours numbered just about every hour beyond those spent at my job or learning how to be a lesbian with my sweetie, who was also a member of the group, conveniently. Every one of us had to read several of his books as a condition of membership, which means now that my bookshelf sports most of his oevre in original hardbacks, thankyouverymuch. It also means I am conditioned not just to parrot the lines of Dr. King’s greatest speeches, but to locate them in context. So: “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice” comes from Dr. King’s “How Long? Not Long” speech (sometimes also referred to as “Our God is Marching On”), delivered on the steps of the Montgomery, AL state capitol at the conclusion of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965.

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D is for Dad

Go back
Pops, posing on the Central Freeway, San Francisco, CA.

Honestly, here’s what I remember. I remember us driving along the freeway, heading into San Francisco, around about the point where Interstate 80, the Bayshore Freeway, branches off due west and into central San Francisco. I remember us thinking somehow that this sign was hilarious, and then actually stopping the car along the freeway (was there some lane blocked off for road work that made this less insane, and actually plausible? one can only hope), hopping out, the both of us, him going to pose next to the sign (oh, yes, that is a four-plus story drop behind him), and me pulling out my trusty Olympus OM-1 SLR film camera, and taking this picture. Circa sometime in the late 1970s, maybe 1980.

What, exactly, about the sign we found hilarious, I can’t remember now. The thought that: DUH! If you are reading this right now of course you are going the wrong way. Maybe the lack of the article “the,” due, one must imagine, to the exigencies of getting the urgent message across: STOP, FERCHRISSAKES! Maybe also just the stark Puritanism of the statement, generally speaking.

Heaven only knows.

But I know that I have kept this photograph through the decades, a badge of his willingness to pretty much go along with anything that smacked of adventure with his daughters. A sign of his inextinguishable sense of humor. A reminder to try very hard never to take anything, even what seems like the gravest calamity, without a hint of mirth.

 

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Hard to put it into words

charolettecouldntaputitbetter
Precocious wordsmith, Berkeley, CA.

Events of the day, SCOTUS-wise, hard to put into words, but this one’s a start.

The above image came from the May, 2008 day the California State Supreme Court declared that our constitution protected all Californians’ right to enter into a legal marriage–regardless of which sex that Californian was. Here was the post then.

It has been five long, long years since then. But in another 25 or so days (procedural detail, but our Att’y General has been behind us all along), my brothers and sisters here will pick up where we all left off as of November 4, 2008.

Watch this space for more soon, when I can get more words together.

 

 

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Weekend bonus shot, 03.31.13

PopsJune12-2
Pops, Berkeley, CA.

Dad, not quite a year ago, in the Easter bonnet I got him. OK not bonnet, but that’s how we jokingly referred to it.  Tried to get it on Easter, and the hat shop was closed (duh), so we went the next time he was in town with me. Hats like these are made for gents like my dad.

Thinking a lot about him today.  He is more gone than here, more out than in. Thus, the heightened value of stolen moments like this one, showing me him and his love, utterly present.

He would never ordinarily feel this unselfconscious in front of a camera–would always stiffen and pose uncomfortably, the ineffable essence of himself evaporating in a puff.  This image exists because I held the camera against my chest, and–yes, I’ll admit it–took three or four pictures stealth. He was looking into my eyes, not at the camera’s lens.

We sat under a shade on a sunny June afternoon; he’d just finished watching his youngest grandson “graduate” preschool in a ceremony the school held in our backyard with all the other kids;  he hadn’t tired yet. We had been talking about something or another which I totally forget now. Something that made him smile like this, mostly with his eyes, which have been capable of reflecting and inspiring so much mirth for so many decades.  And there he was. Being him.

 

 

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On our way

enroute
En route to San Francisco City Hall demo (May 26, 2009: CA Supreme Court ruling to uphold Prop 8).

 

A blast from the past. This has been such a long, tiring journey. Which of course is basically par for the course when the job at hand is to wrestle institutionalized and codified discrimination out of law. Thus “civl rights battle.” For more scenes from this day nearly four years ago, a slide show:

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Thought that counts

keepcalm-2
Worthwhile placebo, Berkeley, CA.

 

I posted this self-same picture almost a year ago, soon after I took it. His knee is bigger now, and he no longer fits those shoes. But he still believes kisses and Band-Aids contain some kind of inherent analgesic power, and until that belief is shaken, I’m not contradicting it. Though if I were to amend the WWII-era British admonition, I’d say, “Keep heart as open as can be, always leave the door open to hope and magic, and then do your best to carry on. Taking comfort in the knowledge that others are treading similar paths somewhere in the world, and that love, no matter what the plot of the story, is always its last word.”

 

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Back to School, LGBT parent version (2012 edition)

IMG_4140A week from tonight, our family will be on the other side of a ginormous milestone: both kids’ first day of school at the actual same school.  So whilst I’m on vacation, otherwise blithely posting pictures of our leisure hours at nearby mountain lakes, I need to update and re-post  last year’s Back to School round-up.  Broke links fixed, some of last year’s references are trimmed out, and a few new notes sprinkled in.

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LD All-Purpose Parenting Resources Page o’ Links

Last year I combed through and updated all twenty-some-odd links on the LGBT Parenting Resources page I list here at LD.  If you haven’t perused that page, please do. Or if you have a friend who is hunting down a compendium of resources, by all means send ‘em there. And let me know if you think I should add more.

A Dozen Really Helpful School-Specific Resources

Below, a compendium of some of my favorite resources, with accompanying commentary. The first several listed can help inform your conversations with your child’s teacher or school administrator, or provide book lists for your school’s librarian or a teacher looking to supplement reading for units throughout the year. The Groundspark documentaries can be screened for a PTA or a school committee or (in the case of That’s a Family!) a classroom.  And the Welcoming Schools resources really form a broad-based family diversity (and anti-bullying and gender diversity) curriculum that could be reviewed and implemented anywhere from the level of a single classroom lesson plan to a whole school or school district’s supplementary curriculum. Because my kids are elementary school-aged (aaak! both of them now!), most of those listed below are primarily K-6 resources.

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Seven years today

E.U.P. February 27, 1995 — March 24, 2005.

Above: my nephew and me, a very long time ago.

Cancer; glioblastoma multiform; brain, spinal cord.

About nine months from diagnosis to death.

Survived by his parents and his younger brother, who at the time was the age my daughter is now. Survived also by two grandfathers, two aunts, an uncle, several cousins, and dozens of friends, teachers, coaches, parents of friends and, collateral of the last nine months of his life, a great many doctors and nurses, mostly at Children’s Hospital, Oakland, who came to know and love his spirit, bravery, and generosity.

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