It’s been a dark and emotionally draining week. It has been much longer than a week for people of color; a few centuries, perhaps.
It goes without saying that this is a brutal time for our nation. How often are we under two emergency orders simultaneously?
Last week’s death of George Floyd was horrifying. We’ve all seen the video multiple times: Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. As a TV reporter astutely pointed out, the video appears to show the officer shifting his weight after a few minutes to seemingly apply even more pressure while already in a dominating position. And as we saw, in the final three minutes the 46-year-old Floyd lay motionless.
Pastor Albert Tate from Fellowship Church used the terms “execution” and “evil” in describing the death during the streaming of his Sunday sermon. It was the first time that I’d heard those two words mentioned in this context.
And Tate is not alone in looking for words that fit the enormity and gravity of what we saw. People from all walks of life, regardless of their skin color, are outraged by the senseless death of George Floyd.
Many of the protests that I watched on television featured ethnic diversity. In fact, the news showed a protest march in Santa Ana on Sunday that seemed to be mostly Latino. This is obviously not simply a black issue; this is a human rights issue. Continue reading “‘Injustice Anywhere Is a Threat to Justice Everywhere’”
Harold James Hunter, Jr., born Feb. 14, 1933, loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully on April 24, 2020.
Harold, known to those close to him as “Hal,” was raised in San Marino-South Pasadena. Hal enjoyed school and participated modestly in football and track, graduating high school in 1951. He attended Stanford and was affiliated with Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, graduating in 1955. He was commissioned in the Naval service for two years and returned to study law at Stanford in 1957. Hal married his high school sweetheart, Sally Logan, in July 1957. Sally taught primary school while Hal attended law school. Continue reading “Harold James Hunter, Jr.”
These days, Dr. Madhu Anvekar spends about as much time at Huntington Hospital as he does in his San Marino home.
Even when he is able to get a few hours away from the hospital, that doesn’t mean he can spend substantial time with his family.
“Actually, this last week is the first time in quite a while that I have been able to see them,” said Anvekar, as he prepared for another in an endless line of shifts.
Trained in internal medicine, Anvekar is director of the hospital medicine program at Huntington, where he and his team of 12 are charged with caring for every COVID-19 patient in the hospital, excepting those in the intensive care unit. Concurrently, he serves on the COVID-19 response team, assisting in devising strategies to implement the massive administrative changes and planning necessary to address the pandemic. Continue reading “Fighting Pandemic ‘What We Signed Up For’”
LOS ANGELES – Outlook Newspapers, owned by Charlie Plowman, has agreed to purchase three community news titles, the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun. California Times, the previous owner of the titles, recently announced that the three papers were being closed due to the challenging business environment and unforeseen economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the publications are part of the Outlook Newspapers group, with the La Cañada publications being combined and renamed the La Cañada Outlook Valley Sun. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to have acquired three iconic newspapers with deep roots and historic legacies in their respective communities,” Plowman said. “I heard the outpouring from local residents, as to how much they love these publications, and want to support them.
The first phase of a revamped Recreation Department is penciled in to kick off in the next fiscal year, assuming the City Council agrees this month to proceed with investing in the foundation of a three-year plan.
After signaling approval on the direction of the department redesign thus far, the City Council is expected to dive into the nuts and bolts of the program as part of its broader budget discussion. The redesign, which is being helmed by interim Community Services Director Josette Espinosa, is slated to introduce a variety of new programming for residents and relocate where its services are offered as part of a consolidation of sorts with Crowell Public Library. As part of the creation of the Community Service Department, what were independent wings for recreation and library fell under one roof.
“It’s time for us to start acting as one,” Espinosa said while presenting at last Friday’s City Council meeting. Continue reading “City Opens Discussion on Rec Program Changes”
The Hospitality Kitchen, also known as the “Hippie Kitchen,” one of the many programs run by the Catholic Worker program, is in the heart of downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row, an area with roughly 10,000 homeless, poor and marginally employed residents. Skid Row, with its numerous street encampments, rescue missions and single room occupancy hotels, has been dubiously named “the homeless capital of the nation.” It is also the most policed area in the country.
The soup kitchen offers hot meals three days per week to thousands of our brothers and sisters in need. They also have an on-site medical and dental clinic with doctors and nurses volunteering their time.
On the side wall of the Hospitality Kitchen, there is a large mural, beautifully painted and depicting the homeless community lining up for food. Upon a closer look, you realize that one of those people is Jesus, himself. The power of the image is that Jesus is one among the many – simply getting in line with the others. It is also a reminder that God is in full solidarity with all of humanity and stands with the poorest among us. For me, this mural is an icon of the appearance stories that we hear annually when we journey through the 50 days of Easter.
One of those stories is of Jesus appearing with two of his followers as they journeyed along road to Emmaus. He seems to have just quietly come into stride as if it was the most natural thing in the world, and joined in the conversation. But the thing is, the disciples didn’t realize it was him. So close, yet so unrecognizable. It was only later as he sat with them at the table in their home that something happened that was familiar. He took the bread, blessed it, and gave it to them. It was in that moment that his friends remembered their last meal together in the upper room. The same words, the same blessing, the same undeniable sense of love and solidarity. In community, as companions, Jesus became known to them in the breaking of the bread.
The Latin root word for “companion” is companis, which means “bread,” or “loaf,” or more literally, “to be bread for one another.” We are all called to be companions along the way with one another. We are all called to be bread for each other – to nourish one another.
On the sacred journey of life, we will meet many people along the way – people who are struggling and people who help us when we stumble. The road to Emmaus winds through our city streets – the soup kitchens and jails, the hospitals and slums. It runs through the COVID isolation chambers and hears the salute of banging of pots and pans for hospital workers as they return home from the front lines of the pandemic. It takes us through the bloodshed of Palestine and the poverty of Haiti, and on the road of exile with our Syrian sisters and brothers. It runs through Lacy Park, along Colorado Boulevard and onto 6th & Gladys in Skid Row. All along the way, we are called to be bread for each other. We are called to nourish one another with food and dignity.
When we encounter one another on this Communion Road and respond to the needs and hopes of others, we are given the opportunity to engage in real, positive change in the lives of our global community. In the process, we are transformed. And through it all God is with us, and it is in these communal acts of love and mercy that the Reality of God comes into focus. It is then that, as Christians, Jesus becomes known to us in the breaking of the bread. It is then that the Divine Reality becomes real for all people of every tradition in their own understanding. Because this bread of life – the companis – is baked with love, a love that is big enough for all people everywhere, regardless of spiritual tradition, national origin, denominational stripes or political affiliation. The Road to Emmaus is for all people and will take us to the one truth that we are all in this together. On this road we will never look into the eyes of anyone that God does not love. On this road, God becomes one of us. On this road, we become one with God, because we all share the one bread of our collective soul dipped in Divine Love.
Brother Dennis is a monk in the Community of Divine Love Monastery and clergy at the Church of Our Saviour in San Gabriel.
With the city’s confirmed COVID-19 cases growing to 11 based on Tuesday’s announcement from the county, San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda encouraged residents to “stay the course” by adhering to social distancing recommendations and to avoid public gatherings whenever possible.
“We are still taking our cues from the experts and they are advising that we stay the course and continue on with our current procedures,” said Rueda in an interview.
Rueda took issue with several resistance efforts across the country by protestors demanding a rapid return to normalcy and a lifting of quarantine efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in strict guidelines against public or private congregation, known as “Safer at Home,” and has shut down all schools and businesses except those considered “essential” in order to contain its spread. Continue reading “COVID-19 Count Up to 11; City Council Preps for Financial Impact”
When it is completed this summer, a new rose arbor will grace Lacy Park for the first time since 2015, when age and dry rot made its predecessor a safety hazard and caused it to be dismantled altogether.
Socially distanced construction work continues on the new arbor, which will cost around $650,000 when completed. Because Lacy Park sits over an active earthquake fault, the structure was subject to new building codes enacted in 2019. The city will pay approximately $450,000 of the bill with an anonymous community member pitching in a sizeable amount of the tab. Other funds have been contributed by the San Marino Motor Classic through San Marino Rotary Charities.
Saying that she is “honored to have been part of the Valentine community for the past 10 years,” Principal Colleen Shields announced that the 2019-20 school year will be her last in that capacity.
“Valentine is truly the home of the most amazing staff, students and parents I have had the pleasure of working with during my years in education,” Shields said. “We have been through so many changes together and I feel blessed to have been on this journey with the talented and dedicated Valentine staff, our incredibly supportive parents, and absolutely delightful students.” Continue reading “Shields to Step Down as Valentine Principal”
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens has announced that it has acquired the papers of Dana Gioia, an internationally acclaimed poet and writer who served as the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003–09 and as the California Poet Laureate from 2015-19.
Having published poems for many years while working as a businessman, Gioia exploded onto the national poetry scene in 1991 with the publication of his provocative essay “Can Poetry Matter?” in The Atlantic. Continue reading “Huntington Library Acquires Acclaimed Poet’s Papers”