Friday, November 20, 2020

“Rejoice!”

Deacon Jerome Kiel was the only Deaf Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of Baltimore years ago when I was serving as the pastor of an all-Deaf United Methodist congregation.

It was significant that he achieved the office of Deacon because holy orders were rare for culturally Deaf people who used sign language exclusively.  This was true not only in the Roman Catholic Church, but also among United Methodist and other mainline denominations. 

Deacon Jerome was a faithful pastoral presence at the “Little Flower” Deaf congregation for many years. He was at the end of his ministry when I was beginning mine, and I appreciated so much his ministerial wisdom and gentle patience with my rookie mistakes.

Back then, the Roman Catholic, United Methodist and Lutheran Deaf congregations in Baltimore offered many shared. ecumenical events, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent.  Our Wednesday night dinners and worship services gave us a chance to learn about each other’s beliefs and traditions. We had so much in common. 

During Advent one year, I learned from Deacon Jerome the meaning of the pink candle on the Advent Wreath.  I was mistakenly taught that it was the last candle to be lit during the four Sundays of Advent and it signified God’s love at Christmas. That was not the true story at all! 

Advent began in the 4th century when the church was getting more converts than it could handle because Emperor Constantine had declared that Christianity would be the religion of the Roman Empire.  Prior to that time people preparing for baptism would do so exclusively during the season of Lent. Then they would be baptized and brought into church membership on Easter Sunday.


With so many new candidates for baptism, the church needed to offer a second option. That became the season of Advent (prior to Christmas); and baptism would happen on Epiphany Day, January 6..

Because of that, the Advent season was marked as a time of preparatory penance for sin, personal examination and prayer. The liturgical color for sorrow and repentance is purple, as it is during the season of Lent.

Pink (or rose), the color of “joy,” became a part of the Catholic Mass every year on the third Sunday of Advent. The opening missal (a book containing the texts used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year) included the Latin word “Gaudete,” which literally is a command to “rejoice.”  (There was also a designated “pink” Sunday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, known as “Laetare,” which calls for Jerusalem to “rejoice”.)

The church taught that in the midst of this season of penitence and sorrow, there needed to be a reminder about the joy of the Lord.  It was a call to rejoice in the truth that Jesus has come, is with us, and will come again. Nothing can separate us from that relentless love of God. 

I thought this was a wonderful thing since pink has always been my favorite color. During the years of my pastoral ministry, I took full advantage of “Gaudete Sunday” with pink bulletins, pink flowers, pink offering envelopes, pink altar cloths, etc. The worship service on the third Sunday of Advent was always a time of rejoicing, second only to Christmas Eve. 

Deacon Jerome died one morning after a long illness during the season of Advent.  A box arrived at my church a few months later. In it was an amazing and deeply meaningful gift: Deacon Jerome’s pink Deacon stole. I have kept it as a cherished reminder of this saint who knew the meaning of the joy that comes from serving God with generosity, compassion and love.

This year’s Advent season comes at a time when our church struggles to keep preparations for the coming of Christ at the forefront of our minds. As usual, we seek spiritual introspection while the world is screaming for holiday festivities and non-stop commercialism.


But this Advent season is most unusual, burdened by the threat of more COVID infections, political unrest in our country and theological division in our church. It might be hard to “rejoice” on that third Sunday of Advent when you cannot hold regular Christmas services in the same way due to social distancing concerns. Our cherished gatherings of family and friends are also clouded with concerns and fears of becoming viral “super spreader” events.

“Gaudete” calls us, commands us, begs us to “Rejoice” nonetheless, because when we rejoice even in the midst sorrow, difficulty and uncertainty, it is an affirmation of faith that God is still God.  “Emmanuel” means God is with us. 

God will work all things together for good, even when we can’t see our way forward.  When we rejoice something deep within us feels the joy of the Lord that is not dependent on circumstances but rather on that “peace that passes understanding.”

We need Gaudete Sunday more this year than ever.  Light a pink candle in your heart and on your altar. Celebrate the joy of the Lord.  Also, remember to do something to bring joy to someone else whose journey is especially lonely and difficult this year.  Spread the “pink!”  Rejoice!


References:

www.umc.org “History of Advents for United Methodists”

The Catholic Herald, December 8, 2016

www.catholic.org  December 8, 2004

Thursday, October 29, 2020

‘Do No Harm’


The “Three Simple Rules” offered to us by our Methodist founder John Wesley are:

  1. Do no harm.

  2. Do good.

  3. Attend to the ordinances of God (that is, spiritual disciplines that keep you close to God).

It is no small matter that the first of the three is “Do no harm.” Everything we do has a potential for harm.

Striving to “do no harm” compels us to think before we act, with a focus on how our actions might affect other people. Something that may seem harmless to us may be seriously harmful to others, depending on their life situations, culture or other circumstances.

We can’t do enough to be culturally competent Christians, always learning and exploring the values, histories and life experiences of people whose cultures are different from our own. Sadly, racism and white supremacy have blinded many European-Americans from seeing the harm they often cause. Such is the case with sports team names and mascots that misappropriate Native American images and cultures, and that too often depict them in derogatory, harmful, stereotypical ways.


According to the National Congress of American Indians the name “Redsk*ns is a racial slur that is rooted in a governmental bounty announcement calling for the bloody scalps of Native Americans in the 1800’s.”

Many sports teams use mascots that depict Native people as savage, violent people. And while some may think their depictions are somehow positive or even noble, they are nonetheless a misappropriation—indeed, a theft—of Native identities that don’t belong to them. As some Native advocates say, “We are not your Indians.”

Such misuse of cultural imagery contributes to the disregard of Native peoples’ personhood as an important community in the family of God. There is a high rate of hate crimes committed against Native Americans as a result of this negative influence, and it creates serious psychological, social and cultural harm. (www.ncai.org/proudtobe)

UMC stands against Native American mascots

The United Methodist Church has long advocated for the removal of such sports team names and mascots. Our 2016 Book of Resolutions states that, “It is demeaning to depict Native Americans as violent and aggressive by naming a sports team such as the ‘Braves’ or the ‘Warriors.’ The use of such names is not conducive to development of a society committed to the common good of all its citizenry, not to the self-esteem of Native children…Furthermore we urge all United Methodist-related universities, colleges, and schools to replace any mascots that demean and offend our Native American sisters and brothers. We also support efforts throughout our society to replace such mascots and symbols.” (pages 334, 335).


Teaching about this is a way of “doing no harm” and “doing good” at the same time. Society is slowly, finally waking up to this offense, and I thank God for the progress we are seeing.

The NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redsk*ns is now the “Washington Football Team,” effective July 23, 2020, until they decide on a new name. This action comes after decades of much grassroots advocacy to change the name. Suddenly, in the midst of the surging Black Lives Matter movement, pressure from now-conscientious corporate sponsors finally won the day.

Each one of us can speak out about things like this in our various spheres of influence. You don’t have to be a corporate sponsor to politely engage, educate and encourage others to do good and to refrain from doing or abetting harm.

The stereotypical, inaccurate depiction of Native American people and practices in old western movies is harmful. So is the inappropriate misuse of Native American traditional dress as costumes. It is important for all of us to be informed, insightful and respectful.

Doing good to reverse harm


I am happy to have heard a newscast recently about an Irish lacrosse team that bowed out of the 2022 World Games in Alabama so that the Iroquois Nationals can take their spot. (
NPR October 1, 2020). This Native American team from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was excluded from participating because they were not from a “sovereign nation.” It was sadly ironic because the Haudenosaunee were the originators of the game of lacrosse, which they initially called the “medicine game.”

People rallied in support of this team, and 50,000 people signed a petition calling for the organizers to reconsider. The organizers recognized this was a mistake; but the roster of eight teams was full.

That is when the team from Ireland, one of eight that made the roster, decided to reverse this harm and instead to “do good.” They gave up their place in the competition, saying that no one would be going to these world games in the first place if the Iroquois (part of the Haudenosaunee confederacy) had not invented the game of lacrosse.

As many of us now say, “Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God!” There are so many ways we can live this out, as we strive faithfully to navigate our lives with gentleness and respect for all people, in obedience to God. Find your voice, use it to speak out for others, and make a real difference. Our world needs it now more than ever.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Don’t forget to V.O.T.E

By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

I am happy to announce that I completed my mail-in ballot and have officially voted in the fall 2020 election.  Whatever your political affiliation, I urge you to be sure to vote.

The strength of a political system depends upon the full and willing participation of its citizens,” according to the United Methodist Social Principles (para. 164 in the 2016 Book of Discipline).I encourage you to participate in the following important ways:

V – stands for “volunteer.”  Volunteer to help a neighbor, friend or family member cast their vote by driving or accompanying them to the polling place or helping them to cast their ballot by mail.

O – stands for “open mind.”  Study the candidates’ positions and platforms to determine your choices.  Have open and civil conversations with people regarding some of the important issues that are a part of this election season.

T – stands for “teach.”  Teach people about the “strong ethical influence” (Social Principles) the church needs to exercise in order to insure a fair election process. Identify and challenge policies and practices used to limit or suppress voter participation—such as, closing and limiting the number of polling places, stoking confusion about voting by mail, locating unauthorized ballot drop-off boxes in communities, etc. In our country’s long history, there have been overt attempts to exclude people from voting, especially among people of color, women, college students and the poor. The “people called Methodists” believe that all are of sacred worth and have a right to a legitimate place in the election process in a free democracy.

E – stands for “engage in prayer.”  No matter the outcome of this election, there is much we as citizens of this country can do together to promote the welfare of all. Pray for God’s Spirit to move among us as a nation during this time to inspire with peace, transparency and civility. There should be no place for mud-slinging and mean-spirited rhetoric and actions. 

Many United Methodist bishops, including myself, signed onto a letter, titled A Crisis of Faith and Democracy,” which further describes our civic duties as followers of Jesus Christ. May God be with us as we journey toward Election Day 2020 and beyond.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Say the Name


By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

While marching in a peaceful protest this spring there were many people carrying signs bearing the names of African Americans who had died in fatal encounters with law enforcement officers. These names were chanted over and over again as we walked along the streets. 

The name that stuck out for me was Breonna Taylor, the only woman on the list. Her case, seeking justice for her killing in a botched police raid on her home in Louisville, Kentucky, reached a disappointing conclusion last week. It has taken a long time for many anxious people. 

Many people in Louisville are seeking more information from the Grand Jury. That body, in secret deliberations, ruled that no one would be charged in the death of this much-beloved emergency medical technician with a bright future ahead of her. Taylor’s tragic death happened back in March when police, using a “no knock” warrant for a drug investigation, shot and killed this innocent, unarmed, 26-year-old woman in her home. 

Since that time, “no knock” warrants have been outlawed by the state. And the city announced it would pay a $12 million settlement—but not admit official wrongdoing—in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Breonna Taylor’s grieving family. The city promised to make other policing changes also. But there are still calls for more justice; and there are still protests in the streets.

What do we, as people of God, do about this?  It is tempting to be silent and move on with our lives, and see this as “one more sad thing.”  There are shootings in our streets every night locally as well.  We are all weary of the pandemic, the catastrophic weather incidences, the out-of-control fires out west, and the unending political polarization in our country.

However, we must not be weary in well-doing. There is always something we can do, even when we are tired. My suggestion?  Continue to “say the name.”  

“Say the name” of Breonna Taylor and others who are victims of injustice in this world. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  This controversy in Louisville affects all of us. 

So, we should have conversations about how we as a nation can do a better job at restorative justice—that is, justice that not only brings an end to conflict but also tries to help individuals and communities find healing.  Retributive justice is the easier, faster but more polarizing path. Restorative justice changes systems, and it can heal hurts and wounds. It brings everyone into the beloved community. 

Christianity is founded on a system of justice inaugurated by our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose suffering and death binds us together as one family of God which seeks to restore people on all sides of a debate.  There is still hurt in Louisville because there is not yet full restoration. “Say the name” so that conversations about justice continue to happen in your sphere of influence.

Say the name” of Breonna Taylor because the names of women who have died at the hands of law enforcement are not as prominent as the names of men.  We might surmise that fewer women are involved in these cases in; but I believe there is a gender bias. Women of color have been largely marginalized in this society, and their tragic deaths often are less reported. 

Learn the stories and remember the names of Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Kindra Chapman, Joyce Curnell, Shantel Davis, Korryn Gaines, Atatiana Jefferson, Ralkina Jones, Charleena Lyles, Alexis McGovern, Yvette Smith, Ayaina Staley-Jones, Raynetta Turner, Janisha Fonville, Natasha McKenna, Eleanor Bumpurs, Tyisha Miller, LaTanya Haggerty, Margaret Mitchell, India Kager, Mariam Carey, Kendra James, Sharmel Edwards, Adaisha Miller, Michelle Cusseaux, Tanisha Anderson, Alexia Christian, Mya Hall, Kayla Moore and Tarika Wilson.  All of these women have died in recent years in violent law enforcement encounters.  

Courtney Bryan is an African American musician and composer who composed a work entitled “Yet Unheard” for symphony and chorus.  This masterpiece raises the name of Sandra Bland and continues the conversation about women who have experienced violence but their cases have not been resolved.  Say the names of women you know of in your context as well.

“Say the name” of Breonna Taylor (and all those in our country working for justice) in your prayers. Prayer is still the most powerful force on earth and the one largely ignored, even by God’s people.  Pray for individuals, families, police officers, state officials, courts of law and our churches.  

We usually pray asking God to act; but our prayers should also spur us into action, especially as we listen for God’s response. So, pray that we will work for peace, at God’s direction, and that we will listen to each other, especially those with whom we disagree. 

Listen, hear and heed the voice of God when it gives us direction as to what steps we should take to help to bind the wounds of this nation.  Pray all of this in the name of Jesus, who bids each of us to take up our cross of sacrificial commitment to true justice, peace and righteousness. 

Say Christ’s name, for there is real power in the name of Jesus. And as we do, let us echo the names of those forgotten victims—both living and dead—whom Christ calls us to remember. 

Conference to hold prayer walk in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As pain and tensions continue about prosecutorial decisions in the killing of Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky Conference will hold a prayer walk for healing, concluding in a worship service in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park. "Seeing Through Another's Eyes: A Prayer Walk & Worship Service for Healing" is set for Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern time. The event will be livestreamed on the conference Facebook page. Read announcement. Prayer in the midst of sorrow. Commentary: Moving forward from here

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ground-Breaker: In Memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg




By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

I remember well my first Volunteers in Mission international trip. In 1993 a group of Deaf Senior Citizens and I went to Montego Bay, Jamaica, to help a fledgling Christian Deaf School.  I was in quite over my head, being the only hearing person on the team and doing all the interpreting.

The accommodations were somewhat rustic. The plumbing broke down the first day, and the dining hall served mostly rice and more rice. The most difficult part of the trip was the task we were assigned at this small, struggling school.  The principal asked us to take hand shovels and break ground for a vegetable garden. We were breaking hard, hard ground in the hot, hot sun; and if we had not had the chance to also teach Bible school to the Deaf children as well, I think the team would have packed up and left after two days. 

Breaking ground is necessary for any kind of vegetation to grow.  Nothing can grow in hard, packed, dry ground without such hard labor. But the benefits of it can yield the gift of crops and nourishment and life.  Teams that followed us in subsequent weeks were able to plant the garden. And later the children were able to harvest some food to add to their rice menu. 

It is reminiscent of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians about the work of ministry: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything; but only God who gives the growth.”  (I Corinthians 3:6-7)

I would agree with Paul’s analogy to a point, but I would give praise to social justice “ground breakers.”  These are people who till the hard soil of stubborn hearts, but who have the vision and creative imaginations to begin a work among us that can be liberating, life-changing and righteous. 

These words describe the life and witness of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  She was described as a “ground breaker” because of her pioneering, tireless work for gender equality and equal rights for all people.

This is bone-hard work.  Ground breakers get a lot of resistance; but they keep tilling the soil. Although she graduated first in her class at Columbia University Law School, no law firm would hire her; so she worked as a judge’s clerk and then taught law.  Throughout her distinguished career as a lawyer and judge she never gave up on a just cause. And she consistently advocated for equality and equity. 

Ginsburg left us last week, on September 18, after a long bout with cancer and after many victories. She died on the first night (Shabbat) of the Jewish holy observance of Rosh Hashanah. According to Jewish tradition a person who dies on the Sabbath “tsaddik” is a person of great righteousness. If someone dies on the Shabbat of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) they are “the ones God has held back until the last moment because they are needed the most and were the most righteous.” (USA Today 9/19/20, Joel Shannon, quoting Nina Totenberg of NPR.)

Ground breakers are indeed righteous, intent on doing the right thing, bearing the heat of the day, the hardness of the soil for the sake of others.  We honor the memory of the victorious RBG!

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Four ‘W’s’


By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson

Every day I watch a local newscast that gives COVID-19 updates and health reminders. Yesterday they talked about the “Four “W’s.” They are as follows:

 “W” – Wear your mask

“W” – Watch your distance (at least 6 feet)

“W” – Wash your hands

 “W” – Open the Windows to keep fresh air circulating


These “Four W’s” caught my eye and my heart, not only because it is a catchy way to remember these important virus protection practices, but because it could also be a parable about personal holiness in the life of the Christian believer.

The most dangerous pandemic that we face as human beings is that of sin, and the temptation to sin. It is why Jesus came to earth in the first place, to die for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3) and give us life abundant. We do not become perfect on the day we ask Jesus into our hearts. God forgives us; but our daily walk with Christ, which includes constantly striving to live in holiness, is our lifelong journey of faith.

We often don’t talk about sin as much as we should. John Wesley, in his early days with the Holy Club at Oxford, emphasized confession and self-examination as a central practice during his daily prayer time. His “22 Questions” inventory (found on umcdiscipleship.org) is a discipline that every believer needs to practice to root out pride, greed and evil.




What are the “Four W’s” for a Christian who is striving to “go on to perfection?”


1. “W” – Watch your Words. Jesus said, “The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a person unclean. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19)

We get into more trouble by the words we say than by just about any other means of evil. The Book of James reminds us, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.” (3:6)

Put a “mask” over your lips when you are tempted to say hurtful, judgmental or hurtful words. Speak truth, and as the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6)


2. “W” – Be Wary of temptation. Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!” (Luke 17:1).

Temptation is always close at hand, both in the things that tempt us and in the ways we cause others to be tempted by our sin. Likely you know the “pet” sins of your life that “so easily entangle” you. (Hebrews 12:1).

When you keep your distance from temptation by your constant communion with God, you are more able to resist it. As the Book of James reminds us, “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (4:7).


3. “W” “Wash” to cleanse yourself of sin by confession and restoration. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Just as hand-washing cleans off bacteria and germs, confession opens the door for God to forgive us and set us free from guilt and judgment. True repentance also requires restoration for those we have harmed and a 180-degree directional shift away from that sin. Otherwise, it is not true repentance at all. 


4. “W” – Follow the “Wind” of the Spirit. The word “Spirit” in scripture literally means “breath” or “wind,” and as saved, repentant and forgiven people of God we need to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). That means following the guidance that God gives, heeding the warnings about temptation, using the Spiritual gifts bestowed on us, and moving freely, like the wind, into new and often unexpected avenues of service. As difficult as these times are, we have many windows of opportunity for outreach, witness and justice ministry. Let us catch the wind of the Spirit during this unique time, and take the church to a new height of service to our neighbors and devotion to God. 


The “Four W’s” of pandemic precautionary practices are helpful and necessary for our health. The “Four W’s” of the Christian faith can lead to abundant life and life everlasting. Let us follow them both.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Jesus, the ‘Universal Suffragist’



This summer women in the United States celebrate with pride the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote when fully ratified on August 26, 1920. This was a hard-fought battle that had its earliest beginnings at the “Women’s Rights” Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848.

There were failures along the way. The Supreme Court in 1872 declared in a ruling about the 14th amendment that “all people” did not include women. One of the saddest realities of this movement was the fact that the White women often sidelined Black women for fear that Southern voters would not support their suffrage campaign. 

The “National American Women’s Suffrage Association” in 1890 refused to include Black women in their ranks. Later, in a 1913 suffrage rally in Washington, DC, the White women insisted that the Black women march at the end of the parade.  Racism was a consistent struggle alongside the intersectionality of sexism, even though the early movements for slavery’s abolition and women’s suffrage struggled hand and hand on many levels. It was a complicated time, much like today.

Even after the passage of the 19th Amendment, many Black women found it difficult to cast a ballot due to literacy requirements and poll taxes.  It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that Black women had the best opportunity to vote in this country.  It is important to know our true history and to actively oppose current voter suppression attacks in this generation.



What does Jesus have to do with all of this?  The word “suffrage” comes from a Latin word: “suffragium” which literally means “to support.”  The word came from a root word for “tablet” that was used to record a vote.  Through the years, voting rights tended to go to majority-culture men, wealthy men, landowners and citizens.  During the Enlightenment era in Europe (1715-1789) there was growing thought that there should be equal rights for all people. Along with this came a call for “universal suffrage.”


Jesus was the ultimate “universal suffragist,” long before Europe’s Enlightenment era. In the truest sense of the word “suffrage,” Jesus supported and uplifted women of all stripes: Samaritan women, Syrophoenician women, women of questionable character, homemakers, his own mother, little girls, and ceremonial unclean women. He even gifted them with the highest honor of all: to be the first to tell the Good News of his resurrection.

Jesus saw all people as equals, including women, and he gave them a voice in public, engaged them in theological conversation, and allowed them to sit with the men as he taught. He healed women, forgave them, loved them and saw them as worthy of respect.

The world, and sadly the church, continues to deny support for women. “Don’t send us a woman pastor!” is something I still sadly hear each year when making appointments. The majority of our largest churches are served by men. Overall, women earn less salary than men in our denomination.

However, there are improvements coming little by little as time passes. I can see in my 40 years of ministry how attitudes, acceptance and support continue to improve.  I would say that is the movement of the Holy Spirit. The influence of Jesus’ teachings in his words and deeds continues to liberate women in our church, our country and our world.  We still have a long way to go as disciples seeking “the transformation of the world.”

As Christians we can be a part of the support system that raises up women to equality, self-determination and leadership. The same quest awaits us in regard to other groups and communities that face discrimination—such as people of color, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, and the LGBTQUIA community. Equality and equity for everyone is the only way that any of us can have true freedom and wholeness. Where can you show support and be a “universal suffragist”?

The other meaning of the Latin word “suffragium” is “to pray.”  We receive support for the work of justice and equality through the power of prayer. As we celebrate the milestone of women’s suffrage, let us pray for a day when all will have the freedom to vote and to be recipients of equality and support.



Also see: 6 Methodist women who fought for the vote

References:

Washington Post, August 5, 2020

ThoughtCo.com – October 2, 2019

AARP – February 28, 2020

“Black Women and the Suffrage Movement” Wesleyan.edu

“One of Divided Sisters: Bridging the Gap Between Black and White Women” by  Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell, Anchor Press, 1996