Looking Back, Vol. VII, Issue 3

MAY 2020

Welcome to my month-end reading, listening and viewing recommendations, plus links to noteworthy news and “everyday epics”…


Viewing, Listening & Reading

Watch — I don’t often recommend “faith-based” films, but these two are exceptions: Welcoming Strangers is timely, Denver-based documentary “of loving thy neighbor.” And The Road to Edmond (OK) is a quirky, amateur-cast film now on Amazon Prime:

The following hour-long seminar is appropriately named and well worth your time:

And, finally, I just saw the full-length documentary Blood Memory and highly recommend it!

Listen — Heard a lot about it for a while and thought “Yada, yada, yada,” but listened to the entire Hamilton soundtrack last month. Definitely lives up to its billing! Click here to borrow the “Original Broadway Cast Recording” from Hoopla.

Read — Listened to part of Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market by Walter Johnson. Loved Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems by Joy Harjo. Last but not least, my friend Kathy Escobar has another book coming out, this one in September, A Weary World: Reflections for a Blue Christmas.


15-minute standard — What if everyone in a metropolitan area could walk or bike from home to work/local amenities in no more than 15 minutes one way? Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, France, is working to make that hypothetical a reality.

The COVID gap — The coronavirus has exacerbated long-time gaps between “haves” and “have-nots” and revealed national failures.

The root of cruelty? — What’s the source of our human violence toward each other?


At Home — COVID deaths in the United States officially reached 100,000, although that’s likely an undercount…Regarding when and how states should “re-open”, debates continue to rage…In the meantime, millions of newly unemployed families likely will face eviction or foreclosure later this year…The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement, and other recent racially charged incidents, reignited a national conversation about race, racism and white privilege…

Abroad — The world is grappling with how COVID has changed things…Again, different countries approached the pandemic in different ways, and some have been more successful than others…


These “everyday” individuals, families, businesses and communities have done or are doing extraordinary things:

NATIONWIDE — Despite a marked increase in coronavirus-prompted racism, Asian-American health professionals continue to serve the public.

CALIFORNIA — The University of California System became the largest U.S. university to completely divest from fossil fuels.

NATIONWIDE — “You’re gonna have to grow up faster than other generations,” said the 44th U.S. Pres. Barack Obama during his YouTube commencement speech to all U.S. graduating seniors. He reminded graduates that adults “don’t have all the answers” and “No one does big things by themselves.” Amen.

BEXLEY (Ohio) — Amy Acton, the head of Ohio’s public health department, became a COVID lightning rod for her firm stance regarding her statewide stay-at-home order.

NATIONWIDE — The Rev. William Barber, prophet of the “Poor People’s Campaign” continued to decry attempts to marginalize and disenfranchise already disenfranchised groups of people.

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