Harried Prayer

When confronted by some minor emergency, we would not expect to quietly reflect on our situation and then calmly request assistance of someone. Nor, with emotions high and adrenaline rushing in our systems while we face some perceived crisis, would we expect to serenely commend our concerns to God. While we might be able to think clearly and make good decisions under pressure, we communicate differently with one another, and with God, according to the intensity of our experiences.

We cannot always be as calm as we would like, since we are subject to thoughts and feelings associated with turmoil as well as those of peacefulness. Therefore, we can expect to pray in ways that are appropriate when we are agitated, stressed or anxious as well as when we can pause for quiet reflection.

During times of stress, some of us grow quite composed externally, but with much turbulence within. In speaking with others, we would likely control the level of our voices, use few words, and speak only whatever seems necessary rather than give expression to our feelings. If we pray at such a time, we are not likely to express our concerns at great length or to carefully choose what we say, but rather, we would relate with God spontaneously and directly, more from our hearts than from our minds.

If we tend to think that prayer is only possible when we are physically and emotionally in a settled condition, as is appropriate for meditation or contemplation, we would leave out of our relationship with God the majority of our life-experiences. God loves us in all the moments of our lives, not only the occasions when we feel especially consoled. We might prefer and more deeply treasure some of our more significant interactions with family members or friends, but we value too, especially when we reflect a bit, the laughs, surprises, tensions and difficulties that we have shared over time. God accompanies us by choice, not obligation, at every moment of every day, and is absolutely attentive to all our thoughts, feelings and decisions.

We readily share the highs and the lows of our lives with those we trust. We find it fitting to share weaknesses, doubts and even some failures with those we trust most deeply. With God, it is wholly fitting to communicate everything that is of real concern to us – by words when they help, but more often by intention or inner direction.

We might, as we do with others, find ourselves “censoring” thoughts and feelings prior to consciously admitting them to God. Trusting is always a choice, and for us it often seems to imply the risk of being misunderstood, or worse, receiving disapproval. We could tell ourselves that “God already knows” as an excuse for not sharing our condition or our responses to events. But even our friends and all those who are somewhat perceptive often know when we are confused or enlightened, in pain or at peace. When we recognize that our present general state is known, we are often more prone to entrusting others with the particulars of our experiences than if we believed that our feelings and thoughts were totally opaque. God certainly knows all that takes place within us and around us, but only becomes one with us in our experiences when we freely disclose them.

Harried Prayer, as honest communication with God, is likely our most realistic kind of prayer when we are under stress.

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By Dr. Lily Morales Rivera

Forget all the articles you’ve ever read that purport to explain why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the United States. They’ve got it all wrong.

It’s not about celebrating a victory in a battle on the fifth of May in 1862, in the City of Puebla, in the country of Mexico. It’s not about honoring poor and untrained peasants who, though far out-numbered, defeated soldiers from what was then the greatest military force in the world, the French Army.

No, it is not about that, and it is not about recent immigrants, either. It is about us, those of us who were born here, whose parents, grandparents, and great grandparents came to this country long, long ago. It is about us as American citizens who have been marginalized socially and economically, a people who have had to wrench their rights and privileges from an unwilling populace through the force of law. It is about those of us who, until only the most recent of times, were not included in this country’s history books.

We celebrate the Cinco de Mayo, not in recognition of a battle in another nation, but to battle for recognition in this nation—recognition that we are equal to all others in intellect and goodness, that we represent a positive element in American society. We seek recognition so that our children’s potential will be allowed to flourish, that we will be given equal opportunity in the workforce and leadership of this nation, goals that statistics confirm we have not yet achieved. Finally, we connect to a battle in the history of our forefathers because we need appreciation for the contribution we have made to this country.

For example, when we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, our local newspaper observed that day by publishing four full pages of stories about men who served in Vietnam. I read names like Kimball, White, Stenzler, Russell, Kaufman, Lockwood. I didn’t find a single Sanchez, Lopez, Gonzales.

We are all familiar with the Vietnam War statistics, that nearly 60,000 men and women lost their lives in the battlefields of that country, that nearly one in every five of those combatants was a Hispanic soldier. Recognition of the Hispanic contribution to the Vietnam War would have taken nothing from the recognition given to other war heroes. Yet, not one, not one Garcia, Rodriguez, or Nuñez was mentioned in our local newspaper’s four pages of coverage.

This matters. What is reported in today’s press is significant because today’s newspaper article is tomorrow’s historical document. If today’s periodicals mention only the crimes Hispanics commit and the failures they experience, that is all that the world will know about us. If our deeds are not applauded, if our achievements are not celebrated, if our contribution to this nation is not lauded today, our grandchildren will have nothing to honor about us tomorrow.

We celebrate Cinco de Mayo because we have a need for heroes, not just because heroes do great and glorious things, but because we see them as people like us. In finding commonalties with them, we draw courage, inspiration, and a belief in ourselves as worthy human beings. So, we reach back a century and a half. We reach south 2,000 miles, south to the heroes of another nation, of another time. We connect to the weak and the brave in a place far away in a moment long ago, for we see in their struggle and in their victory something within us, the potential for victory against great odds, the potential to contribute historically, significantly to this nation.

Our battle for recognition is not easy. There are those who suggest that Hispanics are unpatriotic, that we are not loyal Americans because on this day, we wave a flag from another country. Such people must be reminded that there is no disloyalty to this nation in honoring our roots in the same way Irish Americans do on St. Patrick’s Day and that German Americans do during Octoberfest. All Americans must recognize that what makes this nation great is that it is, and we are, red, white, blue—and brown, and that no group’s loyalty to this country is minimized by celebrating its heritage.

Part of the battle for recognition involves the fact that to many people in this nation, we are not “real” Americans. It is a sad fact that while many of us are generations removed from being immigrants, too many Hispanics are still generations away from being seen as “real” Americans.

My family, like yours, exemplifies this. My husband, Tom Rivera, was born 75 years ago. In the same house in which his father was born. In Colton. In California. In the United States. Yet, to many of our neighbors, we are and always will be, their “Mexican”‘ neighbors. I ask, and we should all ask, how many generations must we produce in order for our people to be considered real, full Americans? As long as we are not viewed as such, we will neither be the neighbor of choice nor the coveted employee.

If Hispanics

 

are to achieve recognition in this nation, I believe that we must achieve three goals.

First, we must learn to like ourselves. People who do not like themselves, who have no respect for their own kind, allow themselves to be trampled. America has a history of giving disenfranchised people equal treatment only as a result of being forced to do so by this nation’s courts. Unless we respect ourselves enough to speak up for ourselves, we will not fully enjoy the fruits of American citizenship.

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e begins by touching our past. We should learn how our forefathers came to this nation, the struggles they endured, the sacrifices they made. We would be wise to visit the land of our ancestors, plant our feet where they once walked, bathe in the rivers that watered their crops. We should stand before the pyramids built by the Aztecs and the temples created by the Mayans and marvel at their spectacular engineering feats. It is through the touching of our past that we acquire the knowledge that leads to self-esteem.

Secondly, we must pledge to move ourselves beyond the “firsts.” We take great pride in having a first Hispanic doctor, a first Hispanic mayor, a first Hispanic congressman. These are commendable achievements, I agree. But, we should also be ashamed. Our forefathers founded this entire region and many of the major cities in California more than 200 years ago. Yet, it is only in the very recent past that we have been able to celebrate the first mayor, the first… We should be ashamed that we have not worked harder to improve our lot, have not pushed ourselves to greater achievements.

In our push for progress, we must be prepared to make sacrifices, just as our forefathers did. We, too, must risk. We must get involved in the social, educational and political processes of this nation, no matter how much failure and resentment we encounter. We may not succeed, but our failure, our experience, will become a steppingstone for the path that others can follow.

 

Thirdly, if we are to gain recognition and assure our full participation in this land, we must speak out against injustice and inequality. When people are arrested, they are reminded that they have the right to remain silent. But the American Civil Liberties Union reminds us of a far greater right—the right not to remain silent. We must exercise that right and not hesitate to address loudly and frequently the issues that prohibit us from developing our full potential and sharing our talents with this great nation.

One hundred fifty-three years ago, at the end of what we now call the Cinco do Mayo Battle, its leader, General Ignacio Zaragoza, wrote to the Minister of Defense in Mexico City to report his soldiers’ victory. He wrote:

“Las armas nacionales se han cubierto de gloria…puedo afirmar con orgullo que ni un momento volvio la espalda al enemigo el ejcrcito mexicano.”

“I delight,” he wrote, “in informing you that the armies of this country have covered themselves in glory. I can confirm with pride that not for one second did any soldier retreat; not for a moment did our military turn its back to the enemy to run away in defeat.” And neither must we … whether the enemy is ourselves or an unjust system.

True victory in this battle for recognition lies not just in our personal academic and financial success. A minority of successful Hispanics is not proof that we have achieved parity as a people. The battle will only be won when Hispanics no longer remain at the top of the dropout list, the prison population, and the unemployment

Dr. Lily Morales Rivera was born in San Jose, California. She lives with her husband in Grand Terrace, CA. She can be reached atlilyrivera1@yahoo.com. This essay was first presented as a speech to the San Bernardino Hispanic Employees Alliance in 2001. It has been slightly modified to update years mentioned.


Wisconsin Supreme Court selects new Chief Justice

Wisconsin Supreme Court justices moved quickly to replace longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson with Justice Patience Roggensack.

The move Wednesday came after results of a constitutional amendment removing seniority as the sole determinant of who is chief were certified and as a federal lawsuit seeking to delay implementation is pending.

Abrahamson’s attorney Robert Peck says in a letter filed in a federal court that Abrahamson continues to believe she is still chief justice.

Peck says four justices voted via email to replace Abrahamson with Roggensack as chief justice. He says Roggensack accepted the position, even though Abrahamson and Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Patrick Crooks objected.

Polk County jailer accused of assaulting 5 inmates

A former Polk County jailer is due in court Friday on charges of sexually assaulting at least five female inmates.

Forty-eight-year-old Darryl Christensen, of Amery, is facing five felony counts of second-degree sexual assault by a corrections officer. Prosecutors say the jailer had sex with the women while they were incarcerated at the Polk County Jail between 2011 and 2014.

A criminal complaint says the jailer would take the inmates to a secluded area where there were no video cameras.

Massive Drug Arrest in Kenosha/Racine

KENOSHA/RACINE  — More than 44 people face serious drug charges after a raid that covered Racine and Kenosha counties. Authorities say they recovered crack, heroin and illegal guns. Federal, state and local officials announced the arrests Wednesday, April 29th — calling this the biggest drug bust in Kenosha County history.

“Undercover agents, surveillance, wiretaps and the execution of approximately 20 search warrants in the Kenosha area,” United States Attorney Gregory Haanstad said.

“I believe and hope that this investigation has severed a large pipeline of heroin coming into the city of Kenosha,” Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey said.

Tendrá Mayweather-Pacquiao sabor tricolor

México— Dos boxeadores, uno estadounidense y el otro filipino, se enfrentarán en la Pelea del Siglo, misma que pareciera tener a púgiles mexicanos.

La llamada “Mayweather-Pacquiao”, que se realizará el sábado por la noche en el Hotel MGM Grand & Casino de Las Vegas, tiene toque mexicano por todos los rincones.

Desde los guantes, el fotógrafo tapatío Henry Bedoy que trabaja con el “Pacman” y el “cutman” poblano Rafael García que venda desde hace años a Floyd, hasta la marca Tecate que será patrocinador oficial (pagó 5.6 millones de dólares), el cetro creado por el CMB repleto de 3 mil 17 esmeraldas para el ganador y los colores patrios que tendrá en su atuendo el llamado “Money”, se encargarán de darle un toque verde, blanco y rojo a la pelea del 2 de mayo.

Pacquiao usará guantes Cleto Reyes, mientras que Floyd tendrá un diseño exclusivo de la marca Grant, con corazón mexicano, pues su dueño apoya al pugilismo nacional desde hace años.

El toque mexicano llega hasta esferas turísticas, pues una fuente confirmó a CANCHA que el Consejo de Promoción Turística de México será parte de la función.

La marca “México” aparecería en la lona, algo que se hace desde hace años. Para la pelea entre Mayweather Jr. y Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez pagaron alrededor de 1 millón de dólares por esa promoción, cantidad a la que se le sacará mucho jugo esta ocasión, pues el pleito se verá en todo el planeta.

Mexicanos en Estados Unidos serán vitales para romper el récord de PPE, pues un estudio reveló que casi el 70 por ciento de la gente que comprará el evento será de origen latino.

Entradas de locura para Mayweather-Pacquiao

Si alguien quiere estar en primera fila en la pelea Mayweather-Pacquiao, es el momento. Hay tres boletos disponibles.

Claro. El único pero para aquellos que no tengan una cuenta de banco repleta de billetes verdes, es que cada asiento lo están vendiendo en la módica cantidad de 351 mil dólares. No es broma. Cada uno de los boletos disponibles tiene un precio que oscila los 5 millones 600 mil pesos tomando el tipo de cambio actual. Resulta que esos boletos de la Fila AA de la sección E de Ringside de la Grand Garden Arena del Hotel MGM Grand & Casino de Las Vegas, Nevada, se colocaron ayer a la reventa a través del portal StubHub.

Cabe señalar que los boletos de ringside, de esa zona, tenían un precio en taquilla que oscilaba los 7 mil 500 dólares, pero nunca salieron a la venta.

Esos asientos los maneja solamente el mismo casino o la promotora de Mayweather para famosos o grandes jugadores. El boleto más barato en reventa está en alrededor de 4 mil 500 dólares.

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The Bon-Ton Goodwill Donations 

Milwaukee — During the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT) Spring Goodwill Sale, which took place from March 12 to March 28, donors brought in donations of clothing, shoes, handbags and household textiles they no longer needed to 270 Bon-Ton store locations. In return for their donations, customers received coupons toward new fashion and home merchandise at Bon-Ton stores. Customers also had the opportunity to make cash donations in exchange for additional Bon-Ton discount coupons which contributed an additional $492,000 to strengthen Goodwill’s mission in communities across the Bon-Ton footprint.

The partnership between The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. and Goodwill Industries International collected more than 2.1 million pounds of clothing and textiles to benefit Goodwill’s mission. The Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale is the largest and longest-standing department store donation drive with Goodwill. Collectively, cash and textile donations from this spring’s Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale will provide an estimated 300,000 hours of job training services to people who face challenges to finding employment.

Goodwill provides job placement and community services to people with disabilities, those who need education and work experience, and others who are unemployed or underemployed. Last year, more than 9.8 million people benefited from Goodwill programs.

“The Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale has been a time-honored tradition for Bon-Ton customers for more than two decades,” said Kathryn Bufano, president and CEO of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. “With the generosity of our customers, this charitable event has made a huge local impact to help fund Goodwill’s job placement and training services which help strengthen our community.”

Donations are sold in Goodwill stores, and the revenues will help fund employment placement, training and community services such as career counseling, child care, financial education, mentoring, transportation and many other services.

“For more than 20 years, Goodwill has been proud to partner with Bon-Ton to bring opportunities to people in

more communities,” said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “We are grateful for

their customers’ donations and the philanthropic commitment of the Bon-Ton Stores to helping people in our local communities.”

042915-roberto-ruiz-pix-2Baltimore Orioles Game Played in Empty Stadium

In light of the riots that are ongoing in Baltimore, the baseball game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox was played in front of zero fans yesterday. Fan attendance was not allowed, but the game was reported to continue as usual, including the national anthem, the 7th inning stretch, and player introduction music. The scoreboard also operated as usual, though I am guessing there were fewer in-game mini-games to keep the audience’s attention in between innings.

The rationale given for not allowing fan attendance was that the MLB did not want to make the stadium a target for further violence in the city. Why the game was not played in the nearby Washington Nationals stadium is beyond me, but apparently the Nationals brass was never questioned about a possible change of venue.

The riots that started after 25 year old Freddie Gray passed away while in police custody continue to headline news channels across the country. Though the vast majority of protests in Baltimore have been peaceful, those are not the headlines that grab viewers. No matter what Gray’s history with the law looks like, no man or woman is ever guilty until proven innocent in the United States of America.

Inside the stadium, the game was played as if everything was normal. Chris Davis threw a baseball to his adoring, albeit invisible, fans. One intriguing difference is how quickly the game was played: it took just over two hours. Two hours is a markedly faster pace than the 3.13 hour long average that the MLB posted in 2014. Is it because there was less showboating for fans? Does the Kiss Cam delay the game a few minutes so that we can see the cute couple in section 102, or the couple that is clearly not a couple, which makes it hilarious to much of the audience, in section 324 kiss? I would love to see a breakdown of what took so little time that it led to an hour difference in game time.

Diehard fans still lined the balconies of nearby hotels to get a decent view of the game, and their chants could be heard at times throughout the broadcast of the game, which continued without an issue.

The previous low for fan attendance of a MLB game was six fans, which was set in 1882 in a game between the Troy Trojans and the Worcester Ruby Legs, though the official attendance for yesterday’s game will be listed as N/A. On that note, why is the attendance not available? It was zero, we know it was zero, we have video proving it was zero, so why is it not available or applicable? My guess is that the MLB simply does not want this game to be remembered years from now.

Just like the protests that are in line with the years of frustration leading up to this point, the game should not be forgotten. The protests are ongoing because America is voicing their opinion about the ongoing issue of police brutality in this proud country. The protests will not be forgotten, and because of that neither will this baseball game.

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American Cities Will Feel Heat This Summer

The world once again turns its attention to events in America, this time the world is witnessing civil unrest in Baltimore, Maryland USA; it’s important to note that Ferguson, Missouri demonstrations are still going on. And as the weather in America begins to warm up, the cities of the United States will most likely not only feel the heat of summer, but will most certainly begin to feel the heat of fires burning in their communities as well.

The mayor of Baltimore referred to citizens upset with police killing and brutalizing them as ‘thugs’. The governor is calling in the Maryland National Guard and a State of Emergency has been declared in this American state. Everyone is on high alert as pompous people look down their noses and talk about how ‘out of control’ Blacks are in Baltimore and how ‘riots never solve things’.

What’s interesting is that while many are quick to condemn the unrest in Baltimore, many of those same people blasting the demonstrations are the same people who stood by and cheered loudly when they saw ‘riots’ in Tunisia and Egypt during the Arab Springs. These same Americans say those riots were necessary for people to free themselves from oppression and brutal police tactics.

When students in Hong Kong rioted against police, American conservative and neoliberal media cheered and gave the students major approval and moral support. The United States condemned the brutality of Chinese police.

Of course we have the unrest in the Ukraine. America is actually sending aid to help those who dared to stand up to oppressive police forces. American political leaders call them Freedom Fighters.

It’s funny how America loves to cheer for those fighting for Freedom except when it comes to Black people fighting against oppression. In June 1976 the Soweto Riots took place, thousands of people were killed and the world condemned South Africa. However, the USA and Israel kept their support of the leaders of that country and their brutal Apartheid Regime.

American media tried to say that the students in Soweto needed to find peaceful means to stop oppression. They were told riots never solve anything. Every time a vote came up to put embargoes on South Africa, the USA was there to veto it. During the time of the Soweto riots former President Gerald Ford and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were trying to find negotiations, not to end Apartheid but to make it friendlier. The US saw South Africa as an important geo-political partner. Hence it wasn’t about freeing Blacks; it was about keeping things orderly. Fortunately Blacks in South Africa refused to go along and talks fell apart and ultimately they won their country.

Violent protests is the byproduct of a system in which the police are given freedom to do as they wish without consequences.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t condone unnecessary violence, whether it be a rioter burning a store or police shooting an unarmed suspect in the back, but psychologically, violence is an understandable (though still unacceptable) response to the current situation in Baltimore.

The police and the American court system have made it clear that police will continue to be above the law, even when their actions are dishonorable at best, and horrific at worst.

On the other side of that coin, I expect measures will be put in place to keep police from abusing their power, and using the special consideration the legal system affords them to justify, and get away with any heinous act, and this is where AMERICA has gone horribly wrong as a society.

With no official channel to turn to for results, people feel helpless and frustrated, and some of those people use rioting in Baltimore as an outlet for that frustration. It’s still not acceptable behavior, but it’s definitely understandable behavior, and it’s also behavior we’re going to see more of in the coming months and years if America, as a society, continues to accept the status quo when it comes to the way police are treated in our legal system after killing unarmed Black Americans without facing justice.