Posts Tagged ‘prison’
One of the most moving documentaries about homelessness is now out on DVD. If you can please support the film makers. If not, rent/borrow and watch this beautiful film. The DVD has many special features that are also worth watching:
- Bhagavan Das is Here Now: This classic article from the Jul/Aug 1998 Yoga Journal chronicles the spiritual journey of the man made famous in Ram Dass’ classic, Be Here Now. Unbeknownst to many current yoga and kirtan fans, after returning to India and doing the spiritual teacher circuit, Bhagavan Das went mainstream for a period of years. So much so, he was a car salesman and born-again Christian for years. At the time of the article, he had just published a book and had returned to Eastern Spirituality.
- Golden States of Grace: Recently featured in the LA Times, this exhibit/book captures stories of spirituality in marginalized communities.
A Los Angeles-based photographer who is drawn to marginalized communities, Nahmias found that all of these disparate Californians shared a sense of spirituality that infused and helped define their lives. As he spent time with them, he said he found “stories of dignity and stories of people going against the grain.”
- The First Christians: I hadn’t heard of this remarkable 2004 PBS Frontline documentary until a few weeks ago. The first hour reminded me of a book (A Life of Jesus) by the late Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo. As always Frontline did a fantastic job of interweaving interviews with academics, with a lots of archeological footage.
- The Tea Party has gotten more religious: This episode of Heart and Soul examines the relationship between America’s Religious right and the Tea Party movement. I’ve definitely noticed that many Tea Party endorsed candidates are conservative Christians. What may have started out us a Libertarian movement has increasingly gotten more religious.
[Seva Series: Profiles of seekers dedicated to the service of others.]
Founded by Jesuit Priest Greg Boyle, Homeboy Industries (HI) has been serving (ex) gang members and the youth of East L.A. since 1992. HI has been in financial trouble lately, and while things are beginning to look up, they are still in need of contributions.
Father Greg (or “Father G” as homies call him) has had a lifelong commitment to living the Gospels through social justice. (Father G is a true Karma Yogi!) From his early days as a priest in Bolivia, through his work as a peace negotiator during the gang wars of the 1980′s and 1990′s, and now through the employment opportunities and other programs of HI, Father G has worked tirelessly for the people in the barrios of East L.A.
For more on Father G and his work, follow the links below. And if you can, donate to Homeboy Industries!
- Tattoo Removal: One of HI’s most popular services, they own and operate (through volunteer doctors) the equipment used for their on-site service.
Tattoo removal is a critical positive step in a long and challenging journey out of gang life and into positive social integration. Homeboy offers free tattoo removal on site. Ya’Stuvo means “that’s enough, I’m done with that”. Tattoo removal is often the first and most urgent treatment accessed in a continuum of case-managed economic development, health and social services offered through Homeboy Industries. In spite of the fact that tattoo removal by laser is known to be painful and takes an average of eight to ten treatments per tattoo, and in some cases up to 1 year to complete, patient retention is virtually 100%.
- Tattoos on the Heart (The Power of Boundless Compassion): Father G’s recent book is full of funny and inspiring stories. By far the best introduction to the history and mission of Homeboy Industries.
- Greg Boyle on Fresh Air: In this recent interview by Teri Gross, Father G gave an update on the current financial state of HI (at the time of the interview, not-so-good) and his health (cancer has been beaten back for now). Audio below:
- Tavis Smiley interviews Father G
- Homeboy Industries Trains Ex-Cons for Brighter Prospects:
In the race to train America’s “green-collar” work force, a group composed mostly of former Los Angeles gang members on parole is an early participant. Their training is funded by Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles nonprofit that helps people with criminal pasts find employment.
- Meditation class for activists, allies, and all agents of social change: From the Center for Transformative Change in Berkeley. They also offer certifications in fearlessYoga and fearlessMeditation.
- Meditation helps San Quentin prisoners come to terms with themselves and their crimes:
The Zen meditation group at San Quentin began informally. A number of guys would meet on the yard to talk about Buddhism and its teachings. Then they decided they wanted an official program. So they had to write a proposal. The warden accepted it, and in September of 1999, the first meditation group at San Quentin began.
… It’s still active. The group meets every Sunday evening. They convert a plain room – which they share with the Jewish and Islamic groups – into a meditation hall. It looks pretty similar to what you might find at any Zen center. About 30 people sit, meditating on chairs or on round pillows called “zafus.” After a period of silence, they do walking meditation, deliberately placing one foot in front of the other.
Still, there are reminders of where we are. Guards with jangling keys pass outside the room. All of the 25 inmates here are in blue prison garb – several wear jackets or pants that say “CDCR prisoner.” And many of those who come on a regular basis are lifers. These are men who have committed serious and awful crimes: kidnapping, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and murder.
- Hurry Up and Wait: “… a photographic essay by artists James Tribble and Tracey Mancenido-Tribble, a poetic meditation about America’s trucking culture. … The photographs illuminate both the openness of the road and it’s lonesome journey, with images that bring new light to the harsh beauty in the world of a truck driver.”
- Wealthy Americans Can’t Stop Working: For financial reasons, it’s hard for many American workers these days to actually retire from work. Many who can afford to retire are also choosing not to. If only the retirement-eligible wealthy can direct their skills and passion to helping the many non-profit enterprises who can benefit from their management and business savvy! (full report in pdf format)
Most want to keep on working in some form, even if they have little financial need to do so. These ‘Nevertirees’ are very actively engaged in what we would traditionally regard as their retirement years; continuing to work, starting businesses and taking on new projects. For many, their work is their passion, and to stop would be unthinkable. … for many their working life is an important part of who they are – it is something from which they derive self-worth and value, and not just a necessary evil to be endured until they can enjoy a leisurely retirement.