Hold It All

Category: Share the Wealth Project

Share the Wealth on Sunday 22 November: The Practice of “Disponibilidade”

I first learned this Portuguese word when Mev Puleo was working on translating her interviews with radical Brazilian Christians in the early 90s. A one-word English synonym she gave me was “availability.”  In her book  The Struggle Is One that was published in 1994, Mev defined the word this way:  “a disposition of openness in which one is accessible, available and willing to be inconvenienced by the needs or requests of another person or event.” 

Around the same time I was doing academic work on U.S. foreign policy, and wrote a letter with questions to Noam Chomsky, renowned MIT  linguist and political dissident.  Within a couple of weeks, he responded in a typed, single-spaced letter of five pages.  I later read an interview he did with David Barsamian, and learned that Chomsky typically spent twenty hours a week writing letters throughout the 1980s and 90s.

During this evening we will share reflections on the people in our lives who have embodied disponibilidade.

Join us
Sunday 22 November
We will begin sharing at 7:00 p.m. Central Time
Via Zoom
Email Markjchmiel@gmail.com for URL




Share the Wealth with Rachel Sacks: Celebrating a Long Life

Rachel will celebrate the life of her Grandma Marcia, who died of Covid-19 in April, sharing stories from her grandma’s life as well as her own writing from the past seven months since her death. Rachel explores explores what it means for a good life to end by a pandemic, and what it looks like to mourn in this time.

Join us
Sunday 15 November
7:00 pm Central Time
Via Zoom
Email Markjchmiel@gmail.com for URL


Andrew, on the left, with Benny

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer:
Julian Assange in Conversation with John Pilger

“You have to start with the truth. The truth is the only way we can get anywhere. Because any decision-making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion.”
–Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks


In the last several years, my friend Andrew Wimmer has paid close attention to the work of Wikileaks and the subsequent arrest of Bradley Manning as well as the threats against Julian Assange.

We invite you to join us this Sunday 13 January to view a recent interview with Julian Assange by veteran journalist John Pilger at Andrew’s home (4542 Gibson Avenue, 63110). Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m., and the interview begins at 6.40, with discussion to follow.

Please bring a friend!


Some background: Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth with Danielle Mackey: A Life in Journalism

In true journalist style, this share will (hopefully) be dominated by your questions. We are living in a time in which the existence of truth — and the legitimacy of professions that trade in unearthing it — is questioned from many angles, some more useful than others. The practice of journalism involves navigating that daily minefield, which can become a background soundtrack in the journalist’s mind, while still plowing ahead with the painstaking work of nailing down single facts. My practice falls within the rubrics of investigative and longform (narrative) journalism, largely about Central America and its relationship(s) with the U.S. I would be happy to talk about anything that is interesting about the backstage work of investigative and/or literary journalism, like fact-checking, reporting for narrative detail, ethical dilemmas, race and class and identity in journalism, risks and threats, layers of truth, etc — the list goes on and on. I could also share about current realities in Central America; I’ve covered a variety of topics and if you’re looking for more information about any one in particular, wonderful. You bring your questions and comments; I’ll bring answers and a listening ear.

A little about me: I’m a former SLU student of Mark’s and very much a fan of horizontal wisdom-sharing spaces like Share the Wealth. In my twelve years in El Salvador I’ve worked as a freelance journalist, teacher and professor, and NGO employee. But I’m one of those who could also be defined as my cat’s human.

Join us!
Sunday 8 November
Danielle begins sharing at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
Via Zoom
Email Markjchmiel@gmail.com for URL

November Share the Wealth Sundays

Danielle Mackey, A Life in Journalism
Rachel Sacks, “May Her Memory Be a Blessing”
Mark Chmiel, The Way of Disponibilidade
Natalie Long, Spirituality of Farming and Baking [Hopefully]



Ale Vazquez


It Was Love at First Haiku

Maria told me to contact you
When you were fresh back from El Salvador

And perhaps needing another shoulder to lean on
After re-entering this meshugah militarized greed culture

There we sat at a table
At Café Ventana

And soon you spread before me
Your final project from the previous semester

You stayed up all night to do it
It had to be that way

Had to cut through the sleepiness
To pour out all that had accumulated—

On each page a water color by you
And a special photo

And a haiku on one page in Spanish
And on the facing page your translation into English

How moved your compañeras in the class must have been!
Your multiple forms connecting

To the many people who made a place
For you in their hearts

Es verdad— the impossibility of writing an eight-page
Double-spaced, TNR font, academic paper Read the rest of this entry »


Ann Manganaro, Teka Childress, Ellen Rehg; photo by Mev

What You Understand Depends on Where You Stand

for Ellen Rehg

Mev looked up to Ann Manganaro
Co-founder of Karen Catholic Worker House
Sister of Loretto medical doctor
Compañera to Father John Kavanaugh

When Mev went to El Salvador in 1993
For the annual meeting with CRISPAZ
She sought out Ann for an interview
They spent hours together in Guarjila

Shortly after Ann’s death that summer
Mev prepared that interview for publication
For a Catholic health magazine
She was not pleased when she saw the final result

The editor had cut out something Mev deeded crucial
The part about Ann’s consciously choosing
To go to El Salvador
To act as a small counter to the evil of U.S. policy–

A million dollars a day for the decade
Going to the Salvadoran government
That was crucifying its own people–
So Ann went there to be with them

Ann was a witness to their agony
And their courage
She is still fondly remembered in El Salvador
And ought to be better known here



Dear “Hermana Ann”
by Maria Vasquez-Smith

Dear “Hermana Ann,”

Hello, my name is Maria Smith and I am a 2013 graduate of Saint Louis University. It has been a true honor getting to know you through The Book of Mev (as in your friend, Mev Puleo. Her husband, Mark Chmiel, wrote a beautiful book that you’d enjoy. It includes people like you that make me proud to be a SLU alum). This afternoon, I read an excerpt that features you being interviewed by Mev. During the time of the interview, you were both in El Salvador, perhaps sitting outside somewhere. While I read the interview, I was sitting outside my office. I had just finished eating lunch and was taking a moment to breathe and sit in the sun before returning back to work. Read the rest of this entry »

Share the Wealth –The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange, A Film by Juan Passarelli

Journalists are under attack globally for doing their jobs. Julian Assange is facing a 175 year sentence for publishing if extradited to the United States. The Trump administration has gone from denigrating journalists as ‘enemies of the people’ to now criminalizing common practices in journalism that have long served the public interest. WikiLeaks founder and Editor Julian Assange’s extradition is being sought by the Trump administration for publishing US government documents which exposed war crimes and human rights abuses. He is being held in maximum security HMP Belmarsh in London.

There is a war on journalism – Julian Assange is at the centre of that war. If this precedent is set then what happens to Assange can happen to any journalist.“The Indictment of Julian Assange… is a threat to the press and the American People.”
– Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

“What Julian Assange is being targeted for is the same or similar as many journalists have done…it’s surprising to me that more people can’t see that this case has worrying implications for all journalists”
– Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian

“Assange is charged with asking for information, with receiving information, and with publishing information. And I don’t mind saying that those are exactly the things that I do.”
– Barton Gellman, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist

Join us this Sunday 4 October for a viewing of the new film
The War on Journalism: The Case of Julian Assange
We gather at 7 p.m Central Time via Zoom.
Email me for URL


Share the Wealth with Mark Chmiel: Dear Love of Hedy

With Hedy and Chrissy, Damascus Gate, East Jerusalem, December 2003


In this share, I plan on talking about one of the major threads of my recent “book” (published at my blog and on Facebook) Dear Love of Comrades, which I described to Rachel Sacks last fall as a “tribute to friendship.”

I’ll focus on the youth, political activism, and last years of Hedy’ Epstein’s long life. As I’ve done with events pertaining to The Book of Mev and Dear Layla Welcome to Palestine, we will take turns doing readings and sharing what pops into our consciousness as a result.

Join us
Sunday 20 September
7:00 p.m. CST.
Via Zoom
Email me for URL

Dianne Lee and Hedy Epstein

Share the Wealth with Magan Wiles: Decolonizing Tango

Three days after the video of George Floyd’s murder went viral, I saw a video on Facebook of my friend Jay standing at a busy intersection in LA, holding up a sign that said “where are all the White people protesting George Floyd?” And I thought, well shit. I showed the video to my partner; we sat in silence for awhile, and then he asked me what we were going to do about it.

That question eventually led me down a road that unraveled my notions about – well everything – including something that I thought I knew very well: tango. In this Share The Wealth, I’ll discuss my discovery of a hidden shameful racial history of tango, and how that history has led to a contemporary dance scene which is complicit in white supremacy culture. It was right under my damn nose the whole time and I had no idea! What about you? How do we identify where white supremacy culture shows up in our lives? What does it look like to decolonize the spaces & activities we love?

Magan (she/hers) is an actress, tango dancer, and small business owner whose passions all dovetail in a passion for facilitating humans connecting with each other. She attended Saint Louis University as a theater undergrad in 2004, and began her professional acting career in St. Louis after graduation. After completing an MFA in acting at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2012, she moved to New York City where she was miserable for 2 years. There she started Hustle Creative, a boutique bookkeeping and business management firm for creative entrepreneurs, and also began to casually date tango. She didn’t really fall in love until she moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and began taking classes with Oxygen Tango. A year later, she assumed management of the school from its beloved founders, and has been running the school since with her partner Dave.

Join us!
Sunday 13  September
Magan begins sharing at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time
Via Zoom
Email Markjchmiel@gmail.com for URL