Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Gatherings

The Good News of the Barakats, 4.6.2017

Last night, Sharifa Barakat and I had dinner at Central Cafe (along with Imman Musa and Dania Saffaf Atienza).  Sarah Dwidar introduced me to Sharifa her freshman year at SLU on  sunny day on West Pine.  Later, she took a Social Justice  class with me, and we were part of SLU Solidarity with Palestine.  I have long been impressed with her humor,  love of literature, and keen sense  of responsibility.

After dinner, we walked to Left Bank Books to hear author Ibtisam Barakat (no relation to Sharifa) share her philosophy and read from her new book, Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine.  Someone asked her a question about the political solution to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian people, culture, and land, and she said point-blank, there’s no solution politically, there can only be a “soul-lution.”  Accordingly, her contribution is to tell the story of her life as a Palestinian in Palestine and the Diaspora.  She has  published two books so far, and she mentioned at least three others to come, insha’allah.

I was struck by Ibtisam’s clarity, calm, and compassion. Her presence is her message.

It was an intense, gentle, and inspiring evening.

Sunday 9 April — Share the Wealth with Marilyn Vazquez

I came to the U.S when I was five months old, and attended public schools, made friends, and played sports my whole life. I will be speaking about the two key issues facing the integrated and undocumented population of immigrants in the United States: health and education. I love this country, and it has always been my home, and I feel a great deal of patriotism for America. However, I realized, even though I blended in with my friends, my undocumented status created barriers to my future of pursuing a higher education. I will also share about my mother’s fight with an invasive and vicious breast cancer and how her undocumented status eliminated her chances of survival. As the election looms over our everyday lives, I believe the fear and anxiety among some communities must be shared with everyone.

I graduated from Saint Charles High School in 2016, and am attending Maryville to study Biology. I hope to pursue a career in medicine, and eventually work with the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. I’m grateful and blessed for my friends and family I’ve built at Maryville and throughout my life. Without them, I wouldn’t have the life and opportunity I do now.

Join us
Sunday 9 April
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Marilyn begins sharing at 6:45
At the apartment of Kine and Puck on Maryville’s Campus
650 Maryville University Drive, 63141 St. Louis
Hilltop Apartments (far north end of campus)
Apartment number: Pine 15

The Good News of a Play, 3.31.2017

Playwright, clown, musician, and mensch Colin McLaughlin has invited friends over this evening to do a collective reading of his new play, Jailbird, about Eugene Debs. Colin asked me to read Debs’ famous statement to the judge at his trial for sedition, which includes the following: “Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”  May Colin’s retrieval of Debs eventually spread light and spark determination all over the U.S. and beyond.

The Good News of Monthly Mutuality, 3.29.2017

Since this past September, Cami Kasmerchak and I have been visiting monthly, taking turns to come up with an agenda to explore topics and themes of mutual interest, such as photography, politics, poetry, traveling, teachers, and, through it all, creativity.

Share the Wealth with Natalie Long–Abogados Descalzados: or, How Latin America Taught Me to Be a People’s Lawyer 

From the period of September 2009-January 2012, I was a law student, a law school drop-out, and a pupil of revolutionary Latin America. I eventually finished my law degree and became a licensed attorney…but only after spending time learning at the feet of communities in Mexico and Guatemala, where people taught me what it means to struggle (and to be a lawyer accompanying those in struggle).

It gives me joy to share the stories of the people who welcomed me into their homes and the lessons they taught me. Please join us for an evening of storytelling, reflection, and fellowship.

Join us
Sunday 26 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Natalie begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Marty and Jerry King
830 DeMun Avenue, 3rd Floor
Clayton, MO 63105

 

The Good News of a Single Blueberry, 3.19.2017

Almost five years ago, Erin Szopiak organized a mindful dinner for some of our friends: Everything for the menu had been grown locally, several of us helped prepare the meal in the King’s spacious kitchen, we savored most of the meal in calm silence, and, for dessert, Erin offered each of us a single blueberry, which we were to appreciate slowly, involving our sight, smell, touch, and taste.  Erin invited us to the wonder of the here and now!

March 12 Share the Wealth and Ravioli with Erin Szopiak and Chris Wallach

Dear Share the Wealth Friends,

Please join us to share a Sunday meal at Chris Wallach’s country home on Sunday, March 12th beginning at 4:00 pm. Enjoy an afternoon of community togetherness around the preparation of herbed ricotta ravioli and a salad. We ask that you bring one item to add to the salad. The ingredients for the ravioli and lettuce for the salad will be provided.

We will take Erin’s direction in the preparation of this meal. There will be some time to notice the beauty of the countryside in the beginnings of spring or the continuations of winter. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Up

Friday 3 March: discussion of Svetlana Alexeievich, Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, with Lori and Helen at Handlebar Restaurant

Saturday 4 March: sharing with sangha on In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon at Madalyn’s

Sunday 5 March: Share the Wealth with Tony Albrecht—the case for impeaching Donald Trump—at Savannah and Jessie’s

Wednesday 8 March: Spring Writing Class, Good News Variations, begins at New City School for eight weeks

 

The good news is still that I was able to visit Italy for a four-week honeymoon in 1992

The good news is still that I was able to visit Italy for a four-week honeymoon in 1992

Share the Wealth with Tony Albrecht–Tentative Description of a Dinner Given to Promote the Impeachment of President Trump

During this time when Trump is on the tip of so many American tongues, I’m preparing for an unusually political Share the Wealth. Our conversation this Sunday will not, however, traverse the usual spectrum between liberal and conservative. No talk of Hillary’s emails. No talk about Mr. Trump’s…take your pick.

We will instead dive right into the deep end of the political pool and discuss why the Trump administration could pose an existential threat to our Republic based on their utter disregard for American values that transcend partisan politics, things like the freedom of the press and the separation of powers.

We will discuss what President Trump (and his administration) have done to compel citizens to protest in unprecedented ways. We will talk about how President Trump could realistically be removed from office well before the 2020 election, as impeachment is a topic I’ve become very interested in recently. And most importantly, I’ll share ideas for how you could help make impeachment happen AND engage in a little bit of activism (through writing) with the potential to have a big impact.

Join us for a delicious potluck supper followed by a robust discussion. Perspectives from across the political spectrum are most welcome.

Tony Albrecht is a lawyer and social entrepreneur who recently started Get Out of Our House, a campaign setting out to rally citizens around the single demand that President Trump and his administration be removed from office during 2017. He currently resides in Toronto with his wife Sawil but has returned to St. Louis to engage in the Resistance.

Join us
Sunday 5 March
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Tony begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Jessie and Savannah
714 Limit Avenue
Apartment #1N
Saint Louis, M0 63130

get-out-of-house

Share the Wealth with Celine Dammond–Lost World of an Egyptian Jew: Reflecting on My Grandma’s Life

Liliane Dammond came to the United States in 1950, 25 years old, recently married and pregnant with my father. Learning English at 14 and studying in England, she was privileged to have no language barrier and access to education. Her focus on family and work dictated her life until retirement, when she decided to share stories of life in 20th century Egypt for Jews. In 1956-57, foreigners (both Jews and Europeans) were expelled from the country. Approximately 30 interviews with Egyptian Jews were transcribed for my grandma’s book, The Lost World of Egyptian Jews. I will share about her life as an Egyptian Jew in the United States, using both personal memories, stories as well as her own writing.

The book was self-published and is available for purchase on Amazon if you’re interested in the topic and stories.

About me: My name is Celine Dammond and I am the daughter of an Egyptian Jewish father and a Danish/British Mormon mother. Neither of my parents practice their religion anymore, however their families were people from separate times in history whose stories echo with a resounding, important similarity: freedom of religion.

Join us
Sunday 19 February
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Celine begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Fatima Rhodes
4406 A Laclede
Central West End 63108

celine-and-noona
Nonna (as I called her) & I, 1992