March On. Be Transformed.
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. “When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them…”
It’s a new year, new decade, and another MLK Day has arrived. For many of us, the year 2020 comes with apprehension and tension about our collective future. So much of that future hinges on our ability, willingness and capacity to love one another, across race, religion and region, and to declare that we will answer our call to care for each other. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this call and he marched in it until his last breath.
Now we have a moral choice. One choice is to cower and be silenced – to accept status quo or believe the myth that ‘time’ or someone else will save us. Or, we can join together, with faith and radical love, advancing forward for our families, our future and the glory of our God to build a robust, multiracial democracy and a caring economy where every one of us can thrive. Our God goes before us. So even if there is tension, even if we are afraid, we shall march on, together. In that process, in our faithful act, we will be transformed into who God created us to be and transform this state into the world that is possible.
Qu’ran Reflection (Sūrat Hud, No 11, Āyat 9)
“If We let man taste a mercy from Us and then withdraw it from him, he becomes despairing, ungrateful.”
One of the weaknesses of human beings is their inclination to fluctuate between extremes of emotion. When they’re granted a blessing by the Lord, they become overly excited. Their happiness can border the extreme. If they lack belief in God that happiness can turn into arrogance and illusions of self-sufficiency. When the blessing is discontinued or if they suffer an affliction, they become depressed and lose hope.
The verse says that the human being is like that, referring to human beings who have not trained themselves to control and regulate their emotions. Verse 11 of the same sūra makes an exception to the people who fluctuate between extreme emotions – Except those who are patient and do righteous deeds. For such there will be forgiveness and a great reward (Q 11:11). There are those who work on themselves and rise above such emotional weaknesses.
What helps to prevent the self from falling into despair is to understand that both blessings and difficulties are from God as means of growth for the soul. When we realize that the experiences of life are an exercise for the soul the goal becomes the “fit” soul.
Probation Reform Victory!!!
The MN Sentencing Guidelines Commission voted 8-3 for a 5-year cap on probation sentences. This means we will no longer perpetually punish people (sometime for decades) while they are working, going to school and living in community with us and their families! It will go into effect August 1st unless the Minnesota legislature changes or overrides the Commission. This has been an issue ISAIAH and our leaders have been involved in for years. We had a crew in the room when the vote was taken, and our organizer Brian Fullman was interviewed by the Star Tribune and Forum Newspapers (greater MN).
Minnesota Liberian Americans Celebrate Path to Citizenship
Barbershops Creating Change in the Community (BCCC) came to party with our Liberian community to celebrate the passage of a bill, after 20 years of effort, allowing Liberians with temporary status to be in the country permanently. It was a very joyous event. The food was excellent, the people were beautiful, and the energy was through the roof! Thank God for our voices and victories! Blessings and congratulations to the organizations, families, electeds and Black-led immigration groups who worked hard to see this through.
Claiming Our Voices
Hundreds of people are attending ISAIAH’s caucus trainings in houses, churches, and mosques across Minnesota. They are having honest conversations about hope, power, pain, and political agency to move into a deeper commitment on our shared Faith Agenda and with one another.
The caucuses are high stakes and super important for those who are running for office. Therefore, the caucuses are a powerful and very strategic opportunity for us to make our politics about the Faith Agenda and our vision of what is possible – instead of attention only being given to the candidates. This is what will shift power dynamics so people power is at the center of how we move our state forward.
Pictured are just some of the meetings that have been held. Top to bottom: MAS Masjid training in Blaine, Northfield training, St. Paul house meeting, Barbershops Creating Change in the Community (BCCC) training.
Nirvana – Poem by Mike Resman
Mike Resman is an ISAIAH Board Member and Faith Leader.
We have sufficient
heaven on earth
Well fed, safe
with each other
and mother earth
2020 Census Jobs Available
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting to fill thousands of temporary positions in Minnesota to assist with the 2020 Census count. Census results are important to our communities! They are used to determine our representation in Congress, and they help inform how billions of federal dollars are distributed for hospitals, schools, roads, and more.
Temporary positions for the 2020 Census feature flexible hours and competitive wages paid weekly. Jobs include both field and office positions. A single application allows you to be considered for several positions, including census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, and supervisory staff.
Help ensure that everyone in our community is counted. Apply for a position today!