Tuesday, November 15, 2011

a researcher's manifesto

Pragmatic research – an aspiration articulated by Laurie Ann Vasily in her dissertation “Reading One’s Life” and informed by Davydd Greenwood and Morten Levin

·         Moral – a position that would “reject the imposition of research on other human beings…”, and desire to “promote research methods that enable nonprofessional researchers to enhance their own control over their lives and their social situations” (D. J. Greenwood & Levin, 1998:95).

·         Political – whereby I “believe that research results should be useful for … local partners in gaining increased control over their own situation and that the research questions should be influenced by all parties involved in the research” (D. J. Greenwood & Levin, 1998:95).

·         Methodological – whereby I undertook “shared decision making about methods, collaborative case analysis, and teaching analytical techniques to a group of research partners,” which I believe, “produces superior results in the quality and amount of information gathered and in the depth and quality of analyses made” (D. J. Greenwood & Levin, 1998:95).

·         Theoretical – whereby I believe that “those who face social problems have much of the information and analytical capacity needed to solve them” (D. J. Greenwood & Levin, 1998:95-96).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

we weep

A professor suggested we pay attention to what surprises us - therein lies clues to the assumptions that guide our reactions to the world.
I don't want to be surprised that a football coach would call the police to report a crime and risk the fallout for his team whose objective is to get a ball over a line.
I don't want to be surprised that disturbed adults in power do not wield their afflictions on children. 
I don't want to be surprised that a community's reaction to the irrevocable damage of sexual abuse leads to solidarity and 
action to change a corrupt system. 
But if after this week any one of three of these things had happened, 
I would have sadly been surprised.

I'm ashamed to be associated with Penn State based on students' reaction to the abuse inflicted by one man, perpetuated by many more men and women, whose silence created more violence. I am hopeful that my association with Penn State adds one voice to others who mourn the wrong done to these human beings and who work to fundamentally change our culture of violence. May the occurrence of sexual abuse always surprise us, but never quiet our voice and send us into hiding.

According to Daniel Landinsky, the poet Rabia was sold into slavery at a very young age nearly 1200 years ago in present day Iraq. She was sexually abused and wasn't released from bondage until age 50. Still today, she perhaps can speak in a profound way to those in our community who suffer under unwanted touch. Show me where it hurts, God said, and every cell in my body burst into tears before his tender eyes. [p.2 Rabia, Love Poems from God]

Our Beauty - Rabia

Live with dignity, women, live with dignity, men.
Few things will more enhance our
beauty as

The Hope of Loving - Rabia

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.

I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover's
warm gaze.

We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither
like fields if someone close
does not rain their

Sunday, November 6, 2011

as will yours

I'm going to be an A-u-n-t, aunt! My sister and husband will welcome a little human being in May. They are good people who will be marvelous parents.

What wonder to think we love into existence a person who already gives meaning to our waiting hearts.  Humans raising humans creates a world, which Gustavo Gutierrez describes here: “An unjust situation does not happen by chance; it is not something branded by a fatal destiny; there is human responsibility behind it.” And yet, worlds change. A reminder to myself: My parents raised daughters to be women who seek goodness by acting against oppression. Standing with people rather than for people is spiritual. Being in relationship with the world means confronting the individual and social sin of exclusion. And thus, we are called to love and be loved and offer our whole selves to the world. And by doing so we give to that same world its design; as will the daughter or son of my sister and her husband. What wonder.  

Prayer for My Unborn Niece or Nephew -  Ross Gay

Today, November 28th, 2005, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
I am staring at my hands in the common pose
of the hungry and penitent. I am studying again
the emptiness of my clasped hands, wherein I see
my sister-in-law days from birthing
the small thing which will erase,
in some sense, the mystery of my father's departure;
their child will emerge with ten fingers,
and toes, howling, and his mother will hold
his gummy mouth to her breast and the stars
will hang above them and not one bomb
will be heard through that night. And my brother will stir,
waking with his wife the first few days, and he will run
his long fingers along the soft terrain of his child's skull
and not once will he cover the child's ears
or throw the two to the ground and cover them
from the blasts. And this child will gaze
into a night which is black and quiet.
She will pull herself up to her feet
standing like a buoy in wind-grooved waters,
falling, and rising again, never shaken
by an explosion. And her grandmother
will watch her stumble through a park or playground,
will watch her sail through the air on swings,
howling with joy, and never once
will she snatch her from the swing and run
for shelter because again, the bombs are falling.
The two will drink cocoa, the beautiful lines
in my mother's face growing deeper as she smiles
at the beautiful boy flipping the pages of a book
with pictures of dinosaurs, and no bomb
will blast glass into this child's face, leaving
the one eye useless. No bomb will loosen the roof,
crushing my mother while this child sees
plaster and wood and blood where once his Nana sat.
This child will not sit with his Nana, killed by a bomb,
for hours. I will never drive across two states
to help my brother bury my mother this way. To pray
and weep and beg this child to speak again.
She will go to school with other children,
and some of them will have more food than others,
and some will be the witnesses of great crimes,
and some will describe flavors with colors, and some
will have seizures, and some will read two grade
levels ahead, but none of them will tip their desks
and shield their faces, nor watch as their teacher
falls out of her shoes, clinging to the nearest child.
This child will bleed
and cry and curse his living parents
and slam doors and be hurt and hurt again. And she will feel
clover on her bare feet. Will swim in frigid waters.
Will climb trees and spy cardinal chicks blind
and peeping. And no bomb will kill this child's parents.
No bomb will kill this child's grandparents. No bomb
will kill this child's uncles. And no bomb will kill
this child, who will raise to his mouth
some small morsel of food of which there is more
while bombs fall from the sky like dust
brushed from the hands of a stupid god and children
whose parents named them will become dust
and their parents will drape themselves in black
and dream of the tiny mouths which once reared
to suckle or gasp at some bird sailing by
and their tears will make a mud which will heal nothing,
and today I will speak no word
except the name of that child whose absence
makes the hands of her parents shiver. A name
which had a meaning.

As will yours.

                    —for Mikayla Grace