Washing Down the Food Crisis with Corporate-Trade Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid ManIt's clear that one cause of the current food crisis is that poorer countries have been pressured into dismantling their food policies, leaving peasant farmers and eaters alike to bear all the risks of the extremely volatile world market. This has left corporations free to ship factory-farmed food to those countries, peasants free to migrate to urban slums, and corporately-dominated economic [...]

Serve Your Country: Teach

I grew up in a working-class, African-American neighborhood in Detroit. I was fortunate to have two college-educated parents who knew how to set my brother and me up for success in school. They also knew how to navigate the public school system to ensure we got the best education possible. That support helped me gain entry into a competitive college prep public high school. My path to college was clear: 99 percent of the graduates at my high school went on to four-year colleges and [...]

Dalit Converts to Christianity Face Persecution and Violence (Unveiling India's Apartheid, Part 3)

As you were singing carols, placing the last presents under the tree, and worshiping at a Christmas Eve service this past year, Indian Christians halfway across the world were being victimized by the largest attack on the Christian community in India's democratic history. The complex and combustible layers of caste-based oppression and religious persecution came to a head on Dec. 24,2007, through a spate of violence in the Kandhamal District of Orissa state. During the course of [...]

Faith-Based Initiatives Are Neither Democrat nor Republican

In the wake of Sen. Obama's proposals on faith-based initiatives, I listened to political pundits characterize this as simply another shift by Obama toward the political "center." All this knee-jerk analysis totally misses the point.

I've followed the development of this idea for years. In September 2000 I was at a breakfast for religious leaders at the White House when President Clinton [...]

Seeds of Liberation (Unveiling India's Apartheid, Part 2)

As our motorcade approached the Dalit village of Nayagarh, we could see the bright and brilliant image of 500 Dalit women gathered to welcome us, their saris forming a kaleidoscope of color. Cheers and whistles erupted from the crowd of women as we approached. I felt like a presidential candidate as I passed through the crowd, shaking as many hands as I could reach, wanting to make human contact with women whose dignity is so often demeaned and whose worth too often dismissed. These women [...]

Unveiling India's Apartheid (Part 1)

In the shadow of India's economic miracle lies a people often deemed untouchable, largely impoverished, and seemingly invisible. Bubbling beneath the shimmering image of a new India is a cauldron of inequality, caste-based subordination, and religious tension that could boil over into even greater civil strife and violence. At the center of these forces lies the Dalit struggle. While Dalit rights are often denied and hopes are crushed, growing political, economic, and spiritual empowerment [...]

Hard-to-Learn Love

I won't even try to describe all of the maddening details of finding a HUD apartment for a homeless, no-income family that consists of a mother, five kids under the age of nine, and a nurturing father. It suffices to say that after three weeks of slogging through that kind of absurdity and ugliness, I began to understand why the mother, our friend Jaleena, tried to kill herself when her original building got condemned. Even with all that, we barely managed an awful apartment, and by the time [...]