I recently attended the Martin Sostre Solidarity House’s grand opening. Sostre House hosts a radical library inside the 21st Street Co-op, which is on the same block as Casa Maria. Martin Sostre was a Black activist who ran a radical book store, which led to him being falsely arrested. While in prison, he organized prison strikes, was in solitary confinement for a total of 6 years, and was declared a political prisoner by Amnesty International. In some ways, he reminds me of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux who is known for doing little things with tremendous love. Sostre’s love for those around him wasn’t expressed in the same way as St. Thérèse of Lisieux, but it was apparent how deeply he cared about others who were suffering.
Hearing about Sostre helped me reflect on Catholic Workers who I believe have that same radical care for others. First and foremost is my fellow Casa Maria volunteer Amada Morales. In addition to raising her own kids, Amada runs two of Casa Maria’s houses, Sister Pat’s and Mapendo house. She also works tirelessly as a volunteer family court advocate for mothers and others who face child removals for reasons relating to poverty and homelessness.
Another Catholic Worker I would put in this category is Ammon Hennessy. He worked with Dorothy Day, who was his godmother, and is known for his one-person protests. While I don’t compare myself to him, I do enjoy spending my free time protesting by myself. My favorite locations are banks that fund climate change, privatized child welfare agencies that ignore the needs of low-income folks, as well as Wendy’s restaurants for not caring about farm workers. I find these solo pickets very spiritually fulfilling as I think he did.
Learning about Sostre’s life also makes me reflect on the harm that is done to those who are incarcerated. For some years now, I have been writing to prisoners each month through Black and Pink-Milwaukee (facebook.com/mkeBlackandPink), which matches incarcerated LGBTQ+ folks with pen pals like myself. Many incarcerated LGBTQ+ people have to struggle to keep their basic rights and face violence simply for being themselves. I encourage everyone to check out Sostre House or to get involved in other groups that fight for that same.
At creation God was talking to one of the angels. He said, “I just made a period of alternating light and darkness on earth. “ The angel said, “That’s great. Now what are you going to do? God said, “I think I will call it a day.”
Why does eating fish increase your brain power? Because fish live in schools.
What do you get when you divide the circumference of
a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.
Did you hear about the cat that swallowed a skein of yarn? She had mittens!
Did you hear of the dog that gave birth to her pups by the side of the road? She was ticketed for littering.
When is an eye not an eye? When an onion makes it water.
Mommy, why is your hair turning grey? Well, child, every time you do something wrong one hair becomes grey. Mommy, Is that why grandma’s hair is all grey?
“We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much. We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.” --George Carlin
America, love it or give it back! -Native American If you ever feel useless, just remember that the U.S. took 4 presidents, thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and 20 yrs. to replace the Taliban with the Taliban.
Companies like Kroger, Publix, and Wendy’s refuse to join the Fair Food Program --- Coalition of Immokalee workers
Ten million U.S. students have no social workers at their school, but they have, you guessed it, police.---Yes Magazine
Some 51% of Congress members are millionaires. ----Harper’s Index
The Democratic Republic of the Congo produces nearly three-quarters of the world’s cobalt, an essential component in rechargeable batteries powering laptops, smartphones and electric vehicles. But those who dig up the valuable mineral often work in horrific and dangerous conditions, says Siddharth Kara, an international expert on modern-day slavery and author of Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives
Retailers often throw out returned goods, which amounts to 5 billion pounds of goods each year. It is estimated that each year 80 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US. One major source is "surplus food"... of food waste end up in landfills annually, and 9.6 billion pounds of this food waste comes from grocery stores alone. Dumpster diving is legal in 50 States.---Democracy Now
The latest in a long string of NGO reports on Israel's serious and widespread abuse of Palestinian children – including arrest, abuse, and threats. Each year, 500-700 face prosecution in a military court system that lacks basic safeguards for a fair trial.----- Portside
NOTES FROM 21ST STREET We have a cherry trestle dining table in our house. This past week I was sitting at it and I noticed the wear and nicks on its surface. The table belonged to my parents. My Dad had stored the cherry boards until he retired. He then had a carpenter turn the boards into a table. The table spent time with my parents when they retired up north on Lily Lake. It came back with them to Milwaukee when my Dad’s health declined. Then the table came to me when both my parents died. It traveled with us when we moved to Butternut Lake when Don was injured. Ten years later it came back with us to Milwaukee. I thought of the many people who sat around this table. The conversations, the laughter the tears that occurred. I thought of my three sisters, Linda, Kathy and Nancy sitting at this table over the years. Now they too, are gone. There are many memories housed in this table. It may be nicked and worn but the wonderful memories of time shared with family and friends make it a treasure. Shiny and new isn’t always the best. It is a poignant reminder that our physical appearance may change with age. Yet, our memories are our treasure. Like Tom Sitter, a catholic worker, who will turn 100 years old on August 16th. He is a storehouse of memories and a beloved community member. Happy Birthday Tom! A Casa Maria Treasure! Peace, Roberta
Aug. 5-- Memorial Service for George Martin at 1 p.m. at Zao MKE Church (Across from the UWM Union) where Peace Action Wisconsin has its new office, 2319 E Kenwood Blvd.
Lanterns for Peace. 6 PM to 9 PM Lincoln Park Areas 3 and 4. We repent of what we did to the Japanese people.
Aug. 17 Anti Gun Vigil from noon to 1 p.m. at Dunham Sports store, 2027 S 108th St.
Aug. 24 ---Anti ROTC Vigil, at M.U. Library on Wisconsin Ave. from Noon to 1 p.m
“Gradually I came to gain a glimpse of what Jesus meant when he said the Kingdom of God must be in everyone…To change the world by beliefs at ballots were useless procedure. Therefore the only revolution worthwhile was the one man/woman revolution within the heart. Each one would make this by himself or herself not to need to wait on a majority.” ---Ammon Hennacy 1893-1970
Ammon described himself as a Christian anarchist --- A position that for him denoted the Gospel call to personal responsibility, the insistence on returning good for evil. He refused to pay taxes since most of the tax money went to the military for fighting wars. ----All Saints by Robert Ellsberg
We mourn the death of George Martin (died on June 16, 2023) who for many years worked for peace in the world. He was involved with the civil rights movement and the Black Lives Matter actions. May he now rest in the peace he sought for the world. We also mourn the death of Ian Harrris, a strong supporter of Casa Maria and excellent teacher of nonviolence. He died on May 15, 2023.
P O Box 05206, Milwaukee WI 53205
1131 N 21sst St. Milwaukee WI 53233