Remember Repair Reunite Pamphlets · Uncategorized

Remember Repair ReUnite 3 January 2021


Once again the pamphlet uploaded.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: “It has to stop”

IN REAL LIFE THERE IS NO INTERMISSION: Living in “Northern” States — an autobiography

WOMEN’S WORK: Trying to stay safe

DEEPER THAN ELECTIONS: Since I Been Down and other important media. Right Attention to Others — Buddhism’s 9th noble truth for these COVID times

WE ARE NONE OF US ALONE: We are Black and White — or are we Purple? “People want better” [Michelle Obama]

“It has to stop “Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language. This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy, and all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.”

Those words were spoken by Gabriel Sterling, (right) a Georgia Elections official who was among the first to assign to President Trump direct responsibility for the destructive results of all kinds of post election interference.

In the pamphlet I recommended several films, each in its own way evidence that the USA is less damaging and destructive than it was when I first came to live here in 1969. The movies are all streaming in different services and rather than try to link you to the specific place you can find them today, I am inserting the imdb link so you can see a bit more before you search.

First a docudrama. I find movies about journalists who open doors to justice engrossing. The Thin Blue Lie, about Rizzo’s time as Mayor of Philadelphia is hair raising. And scary. Really dreadful things did happen, repeatedly and the entire system of courts and jails was in on the process.
Second a documentary that has garnered a big response, a film version of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow. The film is 13th. It’s about that part of the 13th amendment which still allows the enslavement of people imprisoned for crime. If the history on which today’s “criminalization” of blackness is not clear to you, 13th makes the lineage from slavery through to today crystal clear. Third, another docudrama. Just Mercy. Bryan Stevenson is just one among a large number of brilliant and influential Black men visible and active in sapping the energies out of racism’s yearning for a backlash. He came to national prominence as a result of his book by the same name, the story of the work he his colleagues are doing through the Equal Justice Initiative to free Black man from death row. Personal stories, individual stories can have an emotional power that sticks where general data in history books can have a harder time settling into our memories. Stevenson is the instigator behind the Montgomery Lynching Memorial as well, and when travel becomes possible once again Rob and I will go South to pay our respects, and to visit our Alabama-based friends.

There’s a theme here. We Americans really do need to come to grips with the ways in which we attribute dangerousness to people of African origin, with dreadful consequences for their lives. My fourth movie connects to a topic that has been lurking throughout this pamphlet: Money, Reparations, Repair. In recent years, that word has been closely associated with Ta-Nehisi Coates. His Atlantic article, the Case For Reparations, caused a stir. His book, Between the World and Me, a letter to his son, had an even bigger impact. Despite these COVID times, Coates along with two collaborators, turned the book into a wonderful film, putting his words into the mouths of many others, the book alive with the joy of Howard University life, the threats of injustice, the colors of change and hope.

Last there’s the unforgettable film by my friend and colleague Gilda Sheppard. I am privileged to have spent decades working with Gilda at The Evergreen State College. Since I been Down is her tribute to the children, the men and women of the Hill Top in Tacoma Washington who were trapped by the failures to this country’s prison and justice systems. Of all the films here, it is the most hopeful about the changes from decades past. Searing and Brilliant.


The pamphlet includes a striking map showing the ancestral linkages claimed by Americans in the census that year. There’s a lot in the pamphlet about both that map and another one showing the complexity of voting patterns. Election night coverage of Presidential races forces us to simplify down to state sized outcomes, Red or Blue. Look at the pamphlet for more on this.