The Real Problem at our Southern Border

I first left home as a 6-year-old to attend boarding school at a beach town in Vietnam. I have memories of things like tear gas. I have one memory in particular of all of us kids from my boarding school standing outside where the breeze was strongest, against our chain-link fence, looking out at the brilliant ocean which was like a sheet of tinfoil in the sun, crying because of the gas. I distinctly remember NOT being sad—I remember it as an adventure. Sure it hurt. It was also very exciting.

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Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Keith Cooper

We are living in a time when national divisions appear to be everywhere. Yet all of us want similar things: love, security, a roof over our heads, good things for our children. We really do speak with "one heart and one voice" when it comes to our most basic hopes and dreams. As Lincoln acknowledged, it is possible to find common ground around gratitude.

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My family was laughing at me last night at dinner. I was telling them about the first ever roasting of Beautiful Day Ethiopian Yirgacheffe heirloom coffee. Maybe I was a little enthusiastic. Maybe I was acting as if roasting coffee was something new under the sun.

“We knew it would come to this,” they said.

Oh well. You can pick your friends.

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What Are You Afraid Of?

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that, probably because I grew up in a war, I tend to have an air-raid siren going off in my head. Sometimes it’s in the distance, other times not. Sometimes it fixates on the most trivial of things. We don’t always get to choose what’s in our heads. Maybe we don’t choose what we’re afraid of either.

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A second, more slow-motion shock was the flood. A siren sounded before we left our Airbnb. By noon we were barefoot with rolled up pant legs and joking about getting “the real Venice experience.” But that wasn’t the end of it. The following morning there were heavy rains and wind and a much longer siren that meant most of the city could flood.

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That was back in July and I've been chewing on this ever since. I’m pretty sure I intended to answer his question by complaining about how busy I am, how many hats I need to wear. These things are true and I say them all the time. Saying I lost my voice instead provoked me to think about what’s happening to or in me. Beautiful Day works with marginalized people who, for the most part, are hidden and voiceless—most obviously because they don’t speak English and don’t yet understand much about American culture…

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