But seriously, Kendra, what can we do? I received this question a lot yesterday.
We can start by reaching out to members of our community that will be disproportionately affected by our President Elect’s #xenophobia, #racism, and #misogyny.
I started with my friend A (abbreviated for obvious reasons), a college student who grew up in a series of #refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya. After ten years and much vetting from the UNHCR and the US, his family finally received resettlement in the United States.
Nevermind that A is juggling college and a job with impressive grit and grace, or that he helps to raise his siblings, or that he’s multilingual, or that he is kind to his core. A is Somali and Muslim, and our President Elect has made it known in no uncertain terms that A and his family’s kind would be barred from entry to the United States.
Believe me when I say that it would be at a huge loss to my community and to our country. And that whatever despair I feel over today’s election result, I need to think instead of the fear he must feel. And so many others like him. And pause to make sure they know I care.
And invite you to do the same in your community.
Posted in Perspective, refugees
Tagged america, fear, heal, heal the community, hopeful, muslim, oregon, portland, racism, refugee, refugee camp, refugees welcome, somali, take action, volunteer, xenophobia
Last night fourteen strangers in our 20s and 30s gathered around a dinner table. Potluck style. We shared dishes and tears and hopes for #lifeafterloss. And before dessert, we had become a community.
(Check out TheDinnerParty.org to learn more and to join a table in your town.)
Posted in Perspective, Team Poppy
Tagged cancer, daughter, death, father, father-daughter, grief, grief support, loss, multiple myeloma, myeloma, potluck
The refugees in my workshops are masters of makeshift. With less than 1% of refugees worldwide ever reaching resettlement recommendation from the UNHCR, my workshop attendees don’t make it this far without an astonishing ability to improvise. So last night when our Swahili interpreter couldn’t attend, it was no cause for concern. I worked together with one recent Swahili-speaking arrival and the Google Translate app. For me, it was an impressively improvised solution. For him, it was just another day of #findaway.
Where do your parents live?, my new friend asked. In San Diego, I reply. And then I remember that my dad died four months ago. So really it’s just my mom who lives in San Diego now. So I clarify and new friend says she’s sorry. And it’s quiet for a second. And she feels bad and I want to protect her from that discomfort so I say, yeah, it totally sucks. Because when I put it that way, she relaxes a little, and I make it safe to carry on with our conversation. But it’s harder to carry on with life.
Yesterday we paddled out to remember my father, a lifelong longboarder, just as he would have wanted it: in his favorite surf spot, right where he taught me and my sister and my nephews how to surf.
The theme of the night was Fathers. So I told a story about mine.
Posted in Perspective, Team Poppy
Tagged daughter, father, hospice, myeloma, Nepal, oregon, Peace Corps, portland, storytelling, the moth
About six months ago, after a year of running with pain and without answers from MRIs and MDs, I accepted that my #triathlon career was over. And while I don’t believe in miracles, I’ll still call it miraculous that in those final days of my dad’s life, when I needed running the most, that gift of running he’d given me so long ago came back. Without pain. Without explanation. So yesterday, after a 10-month racing hiatus, and on just three months of slow-build training, I raced with gratitude.