A journalist once yelled at me for being black and not knowing the name “Jim Crow.” At the time I was a young university student in Toronto. I did know about American history and the deep-seeded racial segregation in the United States. And yes, I should have known that the laws that supported this anti-black culture were referred to as “Jim Crow,” but I should have known this as a North American resident and not only because of my skin colour.
I was thrilled to hear that my university’s office of campus ministry was hosting a “100-mile meal” potluck, preparing a meal made with ingredients found within 160 kilometres of my home. By eating locally we become proactive agents of change. We support our local farmers and our economy.
When temperatures dropped to -12 degrees Celsius in early January, a homeless man dressed only in a t-shirt and jeans was stuck on the cold streets of downtown Toronto. Vulnerable to the freezing temperature and bitter winds, he sought protection in a bus shelter.
Four years ago, a priest gave a homily that has stuck in my mind ever since: “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” He continued to say that there wasn’t a single thing a person could do, nor was there a single thing about a person that would make God stop loving that person — not his or her gender, race or sexual orientation.
Chris Van Allsburg’s book The Polar Express is a classic Christmas tale read to many children in homes and schools. In 32 pages, Allsburg captures the magic of Christmas through the eyes of a boy who visits Santa’s Workshop via a mysterious train one snowy C hristmas Eve. The boy receives a gift from Santa Claus, a bell, which rings only to those who “believe.”
I jogged on the spot and glanced nervously around waiting to be called up to fight. It was my first Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament, and I was terrified. I had started training in this grappling martial art less than a year earlier. I was full of fear, doubt and worry, scared of letting my team down and disappointing my family.