How to honor Dr. King

I marked the start of the Martin Luther King holiday by finishing the last few chapters of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, by Chicago reporter Natalie Y. Moore. The book explores the continuing persistence and effects of racial segregation America, with a focus on Chicago and especially the city’s South Side, where Moore grew up.

This book has earned wide praise, and has left me with much to consider. It approaches segregation primarily in terms of race, but acknowledges the intersections with class and economics. Which of these is the more important factor if our goal is to be improving racial equity and justice?

It seems important today to remember that Martin Luther King’s primary goal wasn’t racial harmony; it was racial justice. Continue reading


My day began at 4 a.m., when I decided I was not going to get back to sleep. I took a book to another room and curled up with both it and a dog. I also opened up Facebook and found that one of my friends had been up and sharing at 2:30 a.m. — not a friend who is likely to have been ending a long day at that hour.

By 6 a.m., I was in multiple conversations, all with friends in my own time zone.

It’s Saturday. Why were we all awake?

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Missing Mom

Today would have been my mother’s 96th birthday. I didn’t spend the whole day thinking about this, but it was in the back of my mind, surfacing periodically — at work, in traffic, as I walked through my garden.

Dead nearly 13 years, she’s always just barely off-stage, ready to walk on at the slightest queue. Opening day at Comiskey Park? I’ll call Mom to let her know if I’m going. Crocuses came up early? Mom would be thrilled. White butterfly just flew by? Maybe it was Mom. Continue reading

From rural to urban; two wonders

To the woods again
I arrived home from work tonight with just barely enough time to get my dogs to the woods before nightfall, and once again we were rewarded with an up-close encounter with deer. It was darker this time than last, and I think we caught the white-tail end of the herd’s return to overnight quarters. We weren’t surprised this time — the humans, at any rate, definitely were not, and I think the dogs had the scent as soon as we left our car — but we were no less in wonder at our good fortune. Continue reading