This Month We Serve -
Bhakti yoga, or the yoga of devotion, is pure, unselfish, free of expectation and often expressed through song, dance and the written word. From Mary Oliver to Hafiz to W.S. Merwin to Kabir, the poet, with her unwavering commitment and fearless love of the Divine in all beings remind us that we are one no matter how different we may appear; as Rumi writes, “All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight looks slightly different on this wall than it does on that, but it is still one light.” Such words move and motivate; says Sufi poet Hafiz, “Look at what good poetry can do: Untie the knot in the burlap sack and lift the golden falcon out.” Whether we sing, dance, write poems or read them, make stories or listen to them, when done with love, understanding, and a striving for realness and connection, such devotional expression can help us in our quest for Oneness both individually and collectively.
We are witnessing a surge in unconstitutional laws that threaten our human values. The current administration has plans to build the wall at the border, massive deportation force and forcibly remove 11 million immigrants, to ban the entry of Muslims into our country, to limit the rights of women to access reproductive healthcare, and to institute aggressive surveillance and registry programs. We are living through a very atrocious time, when we may be tempted to look the other way rather than see the atrocities we are being faced with. We may be tempted to let others do the work. But rather than detach, we can move closer to the source and get involved to support social change and resist injustice.
To that end, this month, Love Saves the Day celebrates and supports the much needed work of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. Founded in 1920, the ACLU's first acts were to defend the rights of detained immigrants being accused of "radical" politics and facing deportation. More well known is the ACLU's involvement in the 1925 Scopes trial, securing attorney Clarence Darrow to defend the Tennessee history teacher accused of violating a ban on teaching evolution. From the terrible Japanese-American internment camps of World War II to Brown vs. the Board of Education, the ACLU has been there to defend civil liberties and uphold the Constitution. Most recently, it was the ACLU who came to the defense of refugees banned by Donald Trump's cruel and incoherent executive order on immigration. As these unlawful actions continue to unfold,ACLU are vigilantly working in courts, legislatures and communities to maintain the promise of freedom, justice and equal opportunities for all.
Guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution ACLU of Northern California acknowledges that, as a result of historic and systemic racism and other forms of oppression, they are not equitably applied to or enjoyed by all people of this country. Inequitable enforcement of our laws and policies, as well as the laws and policies themselves, can reinforce systems of oppression, exclusion, and disenfranchisement for many groups of people, including people of color, immigrants, currently and formerly incarcerated people, LGBTQ people, women, people with disabilities, youth/elders, religious minorities, and low‐income, poor, and homeless people.
The ACLU‐NC focuses primarily on government action and inaction, including stopping government action that is harmful to civil liberties and rights, and encouraging government action that is supportive of those liberties and rights. This focus on government is for several reasons: the first is the tremendous power that government has to take away life and liberty, and also the power of collective action through government to protect rights. It is also because the Constitution applies most comprehensively to government action. On a more limited basis, however, the ACLU‐NC also engages in advocacy against private entities that are violating rights, either directly against those entities, insisting on government action in those instances, or in advocating against government actions that protect or support those harmful actions by private entities.
In an ideal world, we envision a country where everyone can enjoy the principles of freedom, equality, and justice articulated in the Constitution, not only under the law but also in their lived experience.
In "If You Could Go Back", author and activist Danny Bryck writes:
"I know, I know If you could go back you would walk with Jesus , You would march with King, Maybe assassinate Hitler . At least hide Jews in your basement It would all be clear to you. But people then, just like you were baffled, had bills to pay and children they didn’t understand and they too were so desperate for normalcy they made anything normal Even turning everything inside out Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy for turning the other cheek to be looking the other way, for walking to be talking, and they hid in their houses and watched it on television, when they had television, and wrung their hands or didn’t, and your hands are just like theirs. Lined, permeable, small, and you would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want to make Germany great again Because you are afraid, and your parents are sick, and your job pays shit and where’s your dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway, and chaining themselves to buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And now is when they need you to be brave. Now is when we need you to go back and forget everything you know and give up the things you’re chained to and make it look so easy in your grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora) Now is when it will all be clear to them.
Now is the time to stand up and support our fellow humans, to extend our hearts outward rather than retreated in fear and disgust; now is the time to support the work of the American Civil Liberties Union. To become a card-carrying member of the ACLU and to support the actions of the ACLU, please click here.
“We have to recognise that there cannot be relationships unless there is commitment, unless there is loyalty, unless there is love, patience, persistence. Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” - Cornel West
Now is the time for fearless love and devoted action and to remember that love (and good lawyers) can save the day!