Saving yourself by serving others

On Thursday I had the privilege of attending a symposium on homelessness at the LA County Board of Supervisors. There, we watched a documentary called Skid Row Marathon. Here’s the synopsis:

When a criminal court judge starts a running club on LA’s notorious skid row and begins training a motley group of addicts and criminals to run marathons, lives begin to change.

SKID ROW MARATHON follows four runners as they rise from the mean streets of LA to run marathons around the world, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn.

Their story is one of hope, friendship, and dignity.

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On “Between the World and Me”

I have discovered the joys of audiobooks. As an Angeleno, who spends some time behind the wheel, an audiobook streaming on my Bluetooth stereo is a veritable boon. I always resisted them, as I didn’t want someone else’s voice in my head. But they’ve made the reading experience so much easier and efficient.

The first audiobook I listened to was Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. A book aimed at his son, in the line of De adminstrando imperio, it is a tour de force, detailing what it’s like to be black and American.

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Where the political is personal

If you are a reader of the blog I manage, The People’s View, you’ll know that most of my writing for the past two years has been there. I’ve let this personal blog lie fallow, not having enough time to attend to it.

But what I’ve come to realize over the past few months is that the personal is political. One cannot divorce one’s personal life from the maelstrom which whirls around us.

And, I’ve found, writing here focuses my purely political writing on TPV. I need to balance that agitprop with more personal writing, where I write about things which may not seem political, but do inform my political work.

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On casual racism

I’ve said that the library is the community commons. And as such, it reflects the community, both in its good and its ill.

I helped a young lady whom I knew vaguely by sight. I didn’t know her name, but she always seemed pleasant enough. She was walking with the aid of a cane as she had a cast on her foot.

We chitchatted, and as I finished getting her the book she was looking for, I asked how she’d hurt herself.

A car had run into her at an intersection. She had suffered several injuries. This had occurred months before, and she had gone through many surgeries.

Me being me, I said, “Well, I hope you sued the bastard”.

She told me that “the bastard” had fled the scene. His car had been found, abandoned, and it had been unregistered.

She said, “Which makes me think it had to be an illegal. My friend said that was racist, but it’s just the truth. Who else would do that and be able to live with themselves?”

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