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  • The Rev. Caela Simmons Wood is pastor of First Congregational UCC in Manhattan, KS. Caela is passionate about understanding and confronting systemic injustices, especially relating to race, sexuality and gender, economic inequality, and environmental stewardship. Caela enjoys cycling, hiking, cooking, and reading everything she can get her hands on.
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I Took My Kids to the Protest

“Children don’t belong at protests.” I’ve heard many perspectives on this issue in the years I’ve hovered around activist spaces. They all bounced around in my mind as I debated whether to take my own kids (ages 6 and 4) to one of the Des Moines protests after Darren Wilson was declared a free man … Continue reading

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What Would Rosa Parks Say (WWRPS)?

The temptation to comment on the violence in Ferguson is almost irresistible. It doesn’t matter if we’re condemning it, worrying about it, lamenting it. We feel the need to say something about it while commenting on Ferguson’s resistance. Most of us should resist this temptation mightily. When Detroit burned in 1967, “the mother of the movement,” … Continue reading

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Life Imitating Art

I find it highly ironic that the number one movie in the country right now is about an oppressed people that rise up in revolt against their government, attempting to destroy their capital, and rioting against the establishment that has forced them to live in poverty, to struggle for their lives against a police state … Continue reading

Whose Violence?

The Grand Jury verdict will be announced today. Almost all of the reporting in the media keeps reiterating the message that a failure to indict will likely result in “violence.” Keeps claiming that “violence” is what everyone is bracing for and hoping against. Let us remember that this is not a neutral description. And let’s repeatedly ask: whose … Continue reading

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The Feathers Came to My House . . .

Here’s something we do during the winter months: have elementary kids make construction paper menorahs. In stronger curriculums we do this while teaching them some history of the Jewish people and something about Jewish traditions. Here’s something we don’t do: have these kids make construction paper yarmulkes to wear home. Now some of us may … Continue reading

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What Did You Say About Race Today?

We’re holding our breath. At least, I’m holding mine. Any minute the jury will announce its verdict on whether or not Darren Wilson will be tried for killing Michael Brown. As we wait, let us not forget what a verdict actually is in this country: something that has long had little to do with whether justice has … Continue reading

The Wrong Question

Questions are some of the most powerful tools we have. The way you ask a question, or what question you ask, has the power to shape what comes next. Questions can control a conversation: closing down certain possibilities, opening up others. I ask my young daughter: “What did you do at school today?” She looks … Continue reading

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Re-blog: For Whites (Like Me), Who Are Pissed. We Are Not Ignorant.

Originally posted on formations. // living at the intersections of self, social, spirit.:
I debated the “pissed” of this title. I realize it’s not nice. And I didn’t want to alienate readers who might be put off by it. (Like my mom. Sorry, Mom.) But “mad,” “angry,” even “outraged” just don’t capture it. So it’s “pissed.”…

No More “Reconciliation” Talk

This post is mostly for other white Christians. It’s not about what we should all be doing today in response to what’s happening in #ferguson and dozens of other cities today. Nearly two weeks into this spreading eruption there’s so much powerful and precise writing out there now on that, that not a one among us can possibly … Continue reading

photo by Darriana Donegan

Hands Up. Don’t Shoot.

This past weekend, Michael Brown – another young and unarmed black man, was murdered. By the police. In response, his community of #ferguson, Missouri responded en masse. The predominantly African American community has taken to the streets and given voice and body to the shared grief, indescribable outrage, and deep wounds suffered by African American … Continue reading

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