Being in prison during a pandemic is “like being at the center of one of those Russian nesting dolls — a box within a box within a box,” Harlin Pierce wrote earlier this week for The Marshall Project. Yet Pierce and Wally, his fellow chess-loving inmate, have managed to stay sane by playing countless games of chess … in their minds (think: Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit). “We loved transcending the literal barriers of time and space and challenging ourselves in a creative way.”
Many of the stories below feature folks who, like Pierce and Wally, are responding creatively to whatever is trapping them, including pop culture’s imposed narratives, police violence, inequitable vaccine distribution, or broken trust in U.S. democracy. Here's to hoping we can all channel some of that creative energy in the ongoing mental chess matches we play against our relentless pandemic opponents: loneliness, inequality, and exhaustion.
1. The (Endless) Project to Fix America
There are no silver bullets that would repair democracy, but people of faith can be part of the solution. By Stephanie Russell-Kraft via sojo.net.
2. When the Prison Banned Board Games, We Played Chess in Our Minds
“At the heart of our mental chess game lies a profound lesson: The difference between being content or distraught is a matter of perspective.” By Harlin Pierce via The Marshall Project.
3. D.C.-area Churches Encourage Community To Have ‘Faith in the Vaccine’
“It’s critical we have community pillars like this that are safe places, safe havens where people can get vaccinated.” By Madison Muller via sojo.net.
4. As Tribal Nations in Montana Are Threatened by COVID, Women Health Leaders Have Stepped Up
Women are leading efforts to help Montana’s Indigenous people and empower the women-majority health care force. By Alexa Mikhail via The 19th.
5. The Women of Kochi Have Gathered To Bead Rosaries for 200 Years
But as COVID-19 hit the Indian region, the tradition is at risk. By Priyadarshini Sen via sojo.net.
6. The Limits of the Lunchbox Moment
Not all children of immigrants grew up embarrassed about their food, but pop culture convinced them they should be. By Jaya Saxena via Eater.
7. When Christian Media Peddle Lies
Many Christian media figures fanned the flames that led to tragedy. By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
8. Food Lines in the ‘Land of Plenty’
A biblical look at the crisis of poverty today. By Liz Theoharis via Sojourners.
9. An Atlanta Neighborhood Will Finally Own Property as a Community
A new model for community-owned real estate is attempting to bridge the racial wealth gap and build neighborhood wealth in Atlanta. By Adina Soloman via Next City.
10. Alternatives to Police Exist. You Just Haven’t Heard of Them.
How faith and community leaders are reimagining public safety. By Stephanie Russell-Kraft via Sojourners.