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PrideTide 2016 Resources

2016-PrideWorship Resources for  PRIDETIDE!

PrideTide is a season to celebrate our pride in being exactly who God created each of us to be: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, heterosexual allies, queer, and all the other many and varied sexual identities and orientations we may identify with.
It is a season in the lives of our congregations to rejoice in our sexuality and spirituality as divine gifts, connected to one another, a season to mark as a sacred time in our church and in our lives.
PrideTide is a wonderful opportunity to bring creativity and imagination to planning worship and other activities, like:
  • decorating the worship space with rainbows and colors
  • inviting the local GLBT chorus to perform special music
  • incorporating drama and camp in worship and other events
  • planning an ecumenical or interfaith worship service
  • performing a service project for a local GLBT organization
  • hosting a movie series, book or Bible study
Though PrideTide is a relatively new season, there are some good resources available to assist in planning worship and other activities.

Some of our MCC Pastors and congregations are graciously sharing some worship resources to help in planning for this season of celebration, and we have compiled some other resources to help in planning and implementing a celebratory and meaningful PrideTide!

Here is the link to some PrideTide 2016 Resources
rainbow swirlThis year, the international theme for Pride is
“Solidarity through Pride,”
which is sure to spur some innovative thoughts.
If you have some ideas you would like to share,
please visit the Facebook page of the

Thank You

Huge appreciation to all who shared their resources!

Joy of Generosity

hearts“Extending generosity to ourselves and others gladdens our heart… and brings joy. ”
Christina Feldman

Stewardship in the Church

Stewardship is a churchy word, not used often in everyday language. In the church, stewardship has come to be synonymous with fundraising and pledge campaigns. In reality, stewardship means “taking care of” or “managing.” What we are called to take care of, to manage, is the ministry and mission God has given us as a community and as individuals. That certainly encompasses more than fundraising and pledge campaigns!

Good StewardshipThe truth is that we need money to support the ministry and mission of the church, to live into the dream that God has for us, but we need even more than that. Everyone in our church community has gifts from God; our church community needs the gifts of everyone in the community. We usually talk about these gifts being time, talents, and treasure (which includes money). So, stewardship is about a lot more than money; it’s more about giving back in response to God’s giving to us to do God’s work of love in the world.

We don’t give to get something. We don’t give a certain amount and then expect God to give back like an investment banker. We don’t give out of guilt. We don’t give because we think God is going to sit on high and punish us if we don’t. We give out of gratitude. We give because God gave us life, abundant life, and God gave us love, unconditional love. There really is no way to thank God adequately for those great gifts, or the other gifts, but we can give of our gifts so that others can come to know and experience the fullness of life and love in God.

Growing in GenerosityStewardship is more than about money; and it’s more than about managing the money that the church already has. Stewardship is about learning together how to be generous like God is generous. It is about growing in the love of God and neighbor and in so doing, growing our own spirits. In this way, giving of ourselves and our gifts is about joy. It’s been said that “some money is sad money, some is happy money.” Giving to church is happy money because our ministry and mission from God is making a positive difference.

This is a continuous learning and growing process and not just once a year. To that end, it is strongly recommended that each church have a Stewardship Team to educate people about giving and how the giving of the church is changing lives all year around. However, it is true that the Pledge Campaign is a key element of a congregation learning and growing together. Following are some resources, some ideas and materials, that will help a Stewardship Team, together with the Pastor and Board, plan and implement a Pledge Campaign to help congregations experience the Joy of Generosity.
(These will have to be adapted for the context of each congregation.)

Joy of Generosity – Pledge Campaign

Components of a Pledge Campaign:

  • Board recruits, trains, and commissions Stewardship Team
  • Board sets goals for pledge campaign based on ministry objectives, not dollars
  • Stewardship Team sets the theme
  • Stewardship Team sets a timeline for implementation
  • Stewardship Teams plans and implements campaign
  • Stewardship Team communicates progress with Board, congregation, and Pastor
  • Pastor sets a culture of generosity; preaching, teaching, and celebrating generosity
  • Pastor promotes the campaign and incorporates campaign into worship

Steps of Pledge Campaign:

  1.  Stewardship Team is formed from responsible, active members who embody good stewardship and can set an example. The team needs people with different skill sets, including
    ○   a good understanding of finances,
    ○   someone with an attention to detail,
    ○   as well as someone creative.
    All team members must be spiritually mature members who can learn and teach.
  2. Stewardship Team is recognized publicly in written communications and in worship, as appropriate. The Board and Pastor show their support of the Stewardship Team.
  3. Stewardship Team meets and comes to an understanding of their purpose, their processes for proceeding, agrees on a theme, and develops a working timeline of planning and coordinating all activities and who is responsible for them. A good, well-thought out, well-executed pledge campaign will take more than two months.
  4. Stewardship Team gathers historic data of at least two years for giving and pledging patterns, as well as participation in worship and church activities, in volunteer roles, and in ways the congregation is impacting the community and the world. These patterns will help guide Team in reaching goals set by Board.
  5. Stewardship Teams seeks to discover ways the congregation is generous in sharing God’s love and build on those. Specific examples and stories will help with producing Pledge Campaign materials, so people will understand the mission and ministry they support with their gifts and how they are making a difference in the world.
  6. Stewardship Team works closely with Pastor to incorporate Pledge Campaign and the theme into a Worship Series. Be available to assist Pastor.
  7. Stewardship Team writes up a Pledge Publication, to include:
    ○   an introduction letter, with a summary of congregational generosity
    ○   list of Pledge Campaign activities – including Kickoff Party and Pledge Collection,
    ○   how to actually make a pledge,
    ○   who to contact for more information, and
    ○   a pledge form.
  8. Pledge Publication is sent out via mail and/or email about one month before Pledge Campaign Kickoff. Information and articles about the Joy of Generosity and the Pledge Campaign and are included in newsletters and announcements and hard copies of the Pledge Publication are made available.
  9. Stewardship Team plans and coordinate activities for Pledge Campaign, including:
    ○   a Pledge Campaign Kickoff Party,
    ○   scheduling any special guests, and
    ○   Pledge Collection.
  10. For Pledge Campaign Kickoff, a party immediately following worship to set the tone of joyous giving, and for Teams and Ministries to share ways for people to generously share their time and talents in support of the mission and ministry of the church is often effective. This party will take at least 3 to 4 months to plan well.
    ○   This could take the form of a Ministry Fair, with each Team or Ministry having a table or designated area to share what they do and how people can be involved.
    ○   Whatever form the Kickoff Party takes, it should include balloons and bright decorations. Food should also be a part of the Kickoff Party.
    ○   Make it festive! This is about the Joy of Generosity!
  11. On the second Sunday of the Pledge Campaign, or when appropriate, have an opportunity for organizations and agencies from the community to share how the generosity of the congregation and its ministry is making the community and the world better. Organizations will need at least 3 months to make themselves available.
    ○   This could take the form of a Poster Session and Exhibit, with organizations making materials available before and after worship about their work. They could also have the option to send someone to represent the organization and be available.
    ○   This should also include information and presentation of MCC work worldwide.
  12. The last Sunday of the Pledge Campaign is Pledge Collection Sunday. Make it easy for people to turn in pledges in confidence either before or during worship. Also, provide a way to continue to collect Pledge Cards throughout the year.
    ○   One way to ensure confidentiality is to provide envelopes.
    ○   A box could be made available for people to turn in Pledge Card ahead of time.
    ○   Or Pledge Cards could be collected either in special offering or as part of offering.
    ○   Make Pledge Cards available electronically if possible.
    ○   Emphasize that everyone had gifts that can be shared, so everyone can pledge.
    ○   Consider a ‘giveaway’ for those pledging: a pin, a bookmark, etc. It can be very simple, but is a symbol of all that’s been learned about generosity.
    ○ A special prayer of consecration should be prayed over the Pledge Cards.
  13. Ensure Pledge Cards are handled with care. Decide well ahead of time who will receive the Pledge Cards and ensure information is shared only as appropriate.
    ○   Whoever is responsible for keeping church records should receive addresses, emails, phone numbers, other contact info.
    ○   The Treasurer and/or other Board Member and/or whomever is designated to keep up with financial pledges should receive that information.
    ○   Team or Ministry Leaders should receive name and contact information for those interested in participating in their Team or Ministry.
    ■ **It is very important for these Team or Ministry Leaders to reach out as soon as possible to make contact and get people involved quickly.
  14. Pledge Campaign data –
    ○   percentage who pledged;
    ○   percentage of budget pledged;
    ○   services pledged, etc.
    should be tallied by the person responsible for doing so and shared with the Stewardship Team, the Board and the Pastor.
  15. Every person who pledged should receive a Thank You Letter within two weeks, signed by the Pastor, Board, and Stewardship Team.
  16. The Treasurer or designee should ensure that quarterly statements of giving and reminder of pledge. At least quarterly thank you letters should go out to all who give.

Some Other Considerations for Giving and Stewardship

  • Make it easy for people to give their money!
    • Setting up for credit card transactions is easier than ever with mobile credit card readers that simply attach to any smartphone. Many companies provide this service. There will be a small cost, but without it, some people may not take the opportunity to give.
    • More and more, people conduct financial transactions online. Many companies, including PayPal and EasyTithe, will provide services for allowing online payment. Again, there is usually a cost, but it will allow people to give who may not be able to be physically present at church activities.
  • Ensure transparency with how funds and resources are being used. Sharing regular, honest financial updates with the congregation will inspire confidence in giving.
  • Asking for the offering during worship should be focused on brief, positive messages of how the congregation’s generosity in ministry is making a difference in the world.
    • Here is one example.

Generosity brings Joy

World AIDS Day 2015


World AIDS Day Resources can be freely used by any MCC church or group

World AIDS Day, Tuesday 1 December 2015

Getting to Zero: The Time to Act is Now

World AIDS Day on 1 December brings together people from around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is an opportunity for public and private partners to spread awareness about the status of the pandemic and encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries and around the world.

Between 2011 – 2015, World AIDS Days will have the theme of “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths”. The World AIDS Campaign focus on “Zero AIDS related deaths” signifies a push towards greater access to treatment for all; a call for governments to act now. It is a call to honor promises like the Abuja declaration and for African governments to at least hit targets for domestic spending on health and HIV.


Communal Prayer

One:           Listen, learn and live! Keep open to life’s changes. Be ready to be transformed by the power of love.

Many:         We are open to life’s changes. We are ready to be transformed by the power of love.

One:           Listen, learn and live! Take strength from each other, so that you may always be hopeful and have comfort, even in great loss.

Many:        We take strength from each other, so that we may always be hopeful and have comfort, even in great loss.

One:           Listen, learn and live! May the One who creates and sustains you be with you and bless you this day, and always, whoever you are and wherever you go.

Many:        The One who creates and sustains us is with us and blesses us this day, and always, whoever we are and wherever we go.

All:            Listen, learn and live! Amen!


Our Prayers

One: O God, we come before you this day with longing, with hungering, with tremendous need of your healing presence. We pray on behalf of ourselves, our loved ones, our community, and our world on this World AIDS Day and commit to “Getting to Zero” together.

Many:  Loving God, we receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:  For people who have tested HIV positive and endure tension-filled waiting; sometimes hopeful and optimistic, sometimes frozen with fear and despair …(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:  We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For groups of people who are viciously scapegoated as the cause of the spread of AIDS, and too often pronounced “non-innocent” sufferers of AIDS diseases because they are poor, or black, or Puerto Rican, or gay, or African, or a prostitute… (silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For the families of someone dying of AIDS that are torn apart and divided because of ignorance and prejudice, or that are rendered entirely invisible, not recognized as a “real family”… (silent prayer); loving God

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For people stricken by grief at the death of a loved one from AIDS…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For the sickness and indifference that infuses the fabric of our wealthy nation, tolerating policies that would cut funding or which supports price gauging of the necessary elixirs of health…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:    We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:     For the nations that are being decimated by the disease of AIDS and apathy…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:   We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.

One:   For the people who continue to yell, “Enough,” give us strength for the struggle, and bring your justice now…(silent prayer); loving God,

Many:    We receive your gentle, powerful, healing touch.


World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.

You can also show your support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.


International Organizations working towards Getting To Zero.

The global theme for World AIDS Day from 2011-2015, as selected by the World AIDS Campaign, is “Getting to Zero.” Backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign focuses on the goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

How exactly is the world affected by AIDS?

Here are some of the devastating effects of this disease.



The most affected families are often those that do not have a lot of options for their means of living. With the death of males in the family due to AIDS, women and children are forced to provide their households the basic needs. This is a problem in countries that have many male-dominated industries – when the heads of the families get sick, women are forced to leave homes and work in industries such as carpentry or farming. In a lot of countries affected by AIDS, women are still viewed to be in charge of housework. Read more.


Act Aware by supporting our campaigns!


NATNAT (National AIDS Trust)(UK) doesn’t just campaign on World AIDS Day – throughout the year we work on a range of issues affecting people living with HIV, including benefits, employment and human rights. We are committed to ensuring that the laws and policies affecting people living with HIV are fair, and we work to raise awareness of HIV and the importance of HIV education in the UK today.

To get involved in our campaigning, find out more here.

 Fact Sheets

World AIDS Day resources through the Global Ministries of the UCC and the DOC. Devotional for World AIDS Day throughout the season of Advent, available in English, Spanish and French

Resources from MCC

by MCC HIV/AIDS Advisory Council

MCC World AIDS Day 2015 Resources
MCC World AIDS Day 2015 Resources
Date Updated: 23 November 2015

PowerPoint Contents:W

Covenant Page 3
Praise the Source of Faith and Learning by Professor Thomas H. Troeger Pages 4-11
Statistical Data

  • The Numbers of People Living with HIV/AIDS
  • The Top Ten Countries with HIV
Pages 12-13
Recent Medical Developments Pages 14-18
HIV and Faith

  • HIV and Human Rights
  • HIV+ Faith Response
Pages 19-21
Case Study Pages 22-30
Stigma Pages 31-33
Pages What Would Jesus Do Pages 34-35
Good News Pages 36-39
Works Cited Page 40


International Worship Resources

The Maryknoll AIDS Task Force Prayer

handsclaspedGod of all compassion, comfort people who live with HIV. Spread over us all your quilt of mercy, love and peace.

Open our eyes to your presence reflected in their faces. Open our ears to your truth echoing in their hearts.

Give us the strength to weep with the grieving, to journey with the lonely, to be with the depressed.

May our love mirror your love for those who live in fear, who live under stress and who suffer rejection.

Loving God grant rest to those who have died and hope to all who live with HIV.

God of life, help us to find the cure now and help us to build a world in which no one dies alone and where everyone lives accepted, wanted, and loved.

Adapted from the Maryknoll sisters of the San Salvador Diocesan HIV/AIDS program and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

Prayer of Hope

(for use on World AIDS Day)

God of Hope
All of us are affected by HIV/AIDS.
At this time of Advent Hope,
As we prepare for the coming of your son into this world
We give thanks for signs of hope.
For growing understanding
For medical advances
For changing attitudes and behavior
For greater awareness and concern in your church.
God of Unity
Bind us together with strong ties of love
That this church community may be a place where
All can find acceptance,
May it be a place of welcome for all affected by HIV/AIDS.
May it be a place where care is given and received, especially
for affected children and youth,
Where stories are told and heard,
Where fear is overcome by love,
Where you are to be found. Amen.

Adapted from The Diakonia Council of Churches in South Africa

Prayers of Intercession: Halting the Spread of HIV/AIDS

Heavenly Creator, we give you thanks for those national leaders and governments who have given publicity to the crisis of HIV/AIDS and who are committed to halting its spread. Give your wisdom to all who are in positions of leadership that they may work effectively for the well-being of the people they serve. We ask this for the sake of him who came to bring good news to the poor, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Open our heart to all that brings sickness and pain to our siblings around the world. Give us the will to protest against inequalities that make all vulnerable to infection; to oppose violence and war that put lives at risk; and to combat ignorance and poverty which lead to the spread of disease. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you showed on earth your love for children. Guide by your Spirit all those who are entrusted with teaching children and young people about the spread of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. Help teachers and health workers to present the facts clearly and lovingly, and to enable children to pass on that message to others. Amen.Prayer and Reflection to Support People Caring for Those With and Affected by HIV/AIDS

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Luke 10:2

Loving and caring God, thank you, for You call us to love and serve Your people. You call those who care for all affected and effected by HIV/AIDS to be healing balm in Your hurting world. You send us as compassion, to suffer with those who suffer. Day and night we labor to comfort Your people.

Yet, many times the comforters are depressed by the amount of suffering seen. And many times they are totally exhausted by the amount of work that must be done. They often neglect their own health and families in the HIV/AIDS struggle. O Lord, renew their strength. Amen.

From the Church World Service website,, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

A Prayer for Holistic Healing

Heal us from the bodily pains of HIV/AIDS that depletes our immunity, and leaves us open to opportunistic infections.All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from our broken hearts and grief that continues to pain our spirits and minds and leave us empty about the meaning of life.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from the psychological pains of HIV/AIDS that engulf us in fear and hopelessness and leads us to die before the virus kills.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from HIV/AIDS social stigma and discrimination that leads us to uncompassionate acts of isolation, and failure to provide quality care and prevention.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from unhealthy sexual relations that expose partners and spouses to HIV/AIDS infection and leaves them powerless to protect themselves.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from poverty that exposes millions to HIV/AIDS. Heal us from exploitative social structures that condemn many to poverty and expose them to infection.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us

Heal us from violence that spreads HIV/AIDS. Heal us from ethnic and civil wars. Heal us from domestic violence and the rape of children.

All: Heal us Lord, Have mercy on us, Amen.

From the Church World Service web site,, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayer of Hope for Children

I pray of a world where the youth are free,
Free to play with each other without fear,
Free to touch, tickle and to embrace,
Free to be themselves and respected for that.

I pray for a world where the young blossom,
Where potential is harnessed and realized,
Where people’s efforts are rewarded,
And where one can fly to reach the sky.

I pray for a world without HIV/AIDS,
I dream of a kaleidoscope of youth,
Who sing a song of praise and not shed tears,
I dream of the fullness of life and no more death. Amen.

From the Church World Service web site,, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayer for protection of girls

We are gathered together to affirm the humanity of the girl child. We celebrate the fact that the girl child was created in the image of God and is loved by God. We claim responsibility to protect the girl child and give her the opportunity to grow without fear of being abused by anyone. We pray for a safe environment that is created by all for the safety of the girl child. Amen.

From the Church World Service web site,, and are adapted from Dube, M., Africa Praying: A Handbook on HIV/AIDS

Prayers for Healing

(can be used on St. Luke’s Day, a day of healing, on October 18)

Let us pray for the needs of all those living with HIV/AIDS (especially ____________), that God’s never-failing love may enfold them; that all who care for them may be strengthened in that ministry; and that the church may be to them a place of refuge where Christ is made known.

Let us pray for recovery from sickness, that God, the strength of the weak and the comfort of the suffering, may mercifully hear our prayers and grant to ______________ healing power, that in Christ their sickness may be turned to health and our sorrow to joy.

Let us pray for those who serve in the professions of healing, that God may guide physicians and nurses and all those called to practice the arts of healing. Strengthen them by your spirit so that the health of all people may be promoted and Christ glorified.

Let us pray for the ministry of family and friends. Give strength and gentleness, patience and faithfulness to family members and friends. Let their love be in you, and by their ministry of love let your love be made known.

Let us pray for all those who depend upon our prayers. Blessed Lord, we ask your loving care and protection for those who are sick in body, mind, or spirit and who desire our prayers. Take from them all fears and help them put their trust in you, that they may feel your strong arms around them. Amen.

Themes of Advent and HIV / AIDS

The traditional themes of the Sundays of Advent are hope, peace, joy and love. Many congregations light a candle each week and focus part of the liturgy on the concept for that week. Each of these words has unique meaning in a world where an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS and an estimated 2.7 million more people are being infected with HIV annually.

Since World AIDS Day usually falls between the first and second Sundays in Advent, we will focus on the themes of hope and peace. If you are incorporating these themes into your preaching and/or your liturgy, consider asking yourself, at least on a Sunday close to December 1, how that theme relates to HIV and AIDS. Below are some reflections to get you started.


What does hope look like in an HIV+ world? What does hope look like for those in your community most affected by HIV and AIDS? For your outreach partners? For those in your own congregation who have been affected but have never been asked to share their stories or who are at risk for infection and don’t know it? Maybe it looks like:

Educating and Increasing Awareness

Educate all people, regardless of gender, age, race, or nationality on the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of HIV, as well as educating them about the hope after diagnosis, and the hope that undergirds preventative measures

Ask questions about HIV and AIDS in the places where your congregation already does outreach work, locally and globally.

Observe World AIDS Day with other people of faith in your community.

Commemorate World AIDS Day at your Sunday morning service of worship.


Advocate for increased access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs.

Support targeted prevention efforts leading to changes in sexual behavior and a drop in new HIV infections.

Nurturing Acceptance

Create a “safe place” for persons who are HIV+ by asking your own congregation to share their stories about how HIV and AIDS have touched their lives.

Invite someone who is HIV+ to share their story with you and your congregation.

Taking Action

Pray for all those affected and effected by HIV and AIDS.

Honor a community organization who is working for the eradication of HIV/AIDS.

Resources from the United Methodist Church

Bible Study: Chicken & Biscuits and More: AIDS Ministry and Christian Hospitality

Christian hospitality is a key aspect of congregational ministry with people living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones.

Sermon: “Where Is the Promise?” (Advent)

Christmases weren’t always this hard. There were so many things that John Matthew didn’t want to be reminded of. There was the fact that he never seemed to have enough money to be able to get the presents he wanted to give his friends…

Worship Resources: Be a Force for Change

Come, Holy Spirit, empower us today– convert us, move us, strengthen us to be a force for change from now on.

Worship Resources: God Cares About AIDS

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples about how God cares for all of creation, even small creatures like birds, and that God cares for humankind even more.

Worship Resources: Jesus, A Man Who Made a Difference

Jesus was a man who changed the world forever. He actively sought to bring healing to individuals and society. He stood with the crowd on a “level place”: he treated them as equals.

Poem: ‘Tis a Fearful Thing


Prayer: I Care About AIDS (An Affirmation)

Kathleen Wilder

Reflection: “This Is the Day” (AIDS Caregiving Journal)

Peter Braswell

Scripture Selections

Spiritual comfort in times of trial.


Bullying Prevention Awareness Month 2015

Bullying Prevention 2015 - Blue Shirt Day - World Day of Bullying Prevention 5th Oct 2015

MCC Joins STOMP Out Bullying™ and Pacer for International Bullying Prevention Awareness Month – October 2015


Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention is observed on the first Monday of every October. In 2015 it will take place on October 5th!

Someone you know could be bullied. Someone you know might be a bully.

These celebrities have joined STOMP Out Bullying and are making a statement against bullying by wearing a BLUE SHIRT in solidarity to make 10•5•15 the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world!

Share these Celebrity Videos with your Children and Youth Ministry and Congregations.


The Week of October 11th Make friends with someone you don’t know

If you’ve ever been isolated from others or you were new and it took time to make friends, you know what it feels like to be left out. Or even if you were never isolated, imagine how it would feel.

Make friends with someone who you don’t know. Invite them to sit with you or join you in an activity. You probably wish someone had done that for you.

Be a leader. Take action and don’t let anyone be in isolation.

The Week of October 18th STAND UP for Others Week

When you see someone being bullied, be brave and STAND UP for them. Bullies have been known to back off when others stand up for victims.

If you don’t feel safe, get the help of an adult immediately. Be part of the solution — not the problem!

Unity Day – Wed. Oct 21st

Make it ORANGE and make it end! Unite against bullying! 
What are your true colors when it comes to bullying? If you care about safe and supportive schools and communities make your color ORANGE on Unity Day. That’s the day everyone can come together—in schools, communities, and online—and send one large ORANGEmessage of support, hope, and unity.


The Week of October 27th

Children and Youth Ministries can participate by

  • Creating positive messages on post-its and handing them out
  • Creating anti-bullying videos and sharing them on the STOMP Out Bullying site and in church
  • Sharing inspirational stories on the STOMP Out Bullying site and in church
  • Creating an act of kindness every day and challenging others to do the same. Make kindness go viral!


The more awareness that is created during the month of October — and all year round is one step closer to putting an end to bullying!

Add your name to the digital “The End of Bullying Begins With Me” petition

Check out our Reading List here

Activities for Youth – These free activities and resources are designed for younger students. The goal is to start conversation and creatively engage students to build their understanding of how to prevent bullying.

Classroom Toolkits – Creative resources for elementary, middle, and high school age classrooms to talk about bullying. Toolkits include planning an event, creating a visual statement, introducing bullying prevention conversation, and lesson plans.

Community Toolkits – Innovative ideas for individuals to reach out to their communities to raise awareness on bullying prevention—including holding a rally, organizing a run, or creating an advocacy program

Student Created Toolkits – Transformative activities—including videos, music, and artwork—designed by students for other students to use in the classroom or in the community to engage dialogue between students.

CyberbullyingCyberbullying happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology. Find out why cyberbullying is different from traditional bullying, what you can do to prevent it, and how you can report it when it happens.


Anti-Bullying Reading List


The Horse That Looked Different

By Stacy Einfalt

Suggested Audiences: Ages 3-6

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The Horse That Looked DifferentThe Brown family instantly fell in love with and welcomed Starlit, a spotted Appaloosa horse, to their farm. The family’s three chestnut Quarter horses, Max, Milo, and Monty, weren’t as easily willing to accept him because he looked different from them. Until one day when the four horses go on a wild adventure and get lost. They soon begin to realize Starlit’s unique qualities aren’t so bad after all.

Stick and Stone

Written by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Suggested Audiences: Ages 4-8

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stick and StoneWhen Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair become fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? The warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti- bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. The New York Times best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare. In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie as some of the greatest friend duos in children’s literature.

Access the online activity kit to explore the power of friendship with Stick and Stone.


Words by Junior and Zusk
Pictures by Sophia Brody

WAHESuggested Audiences: Age 3 and beyond

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Wahe (pronounced like HA) is the story of an adventurous little girl in the big city, who learns a small choice can make a big difference.

A portion of book sales and related products are donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center



The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin

By Joe Troiano and illustrated by Susan Banta

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Holiday Hill Farms

Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten – 4th Grade

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a square pumpkin who lives in a round pumpkin patch world. The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin, available as both a book and movie, delivers a message of tolerance and kindness in a fun, accessible format that is easily grasped by young students. By making these advanced concepts easily understood by early learners, teachers can help stop bullying before it begins.

This online toolkit includes resources educators can use to effectively present The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin as a multi-subject learning opportunity. The core elements of the online toolkit involve a reading of the book supplemented by downloadable lesson plans and other activities that teach bullying prevention and character values.

Access the online toolkit “Stop Bullying Before It Starts”


Lead With Your Heart

Written and illustrated by Jena Ball

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Suggested Audiences: Grades 1-6 and beyond
$1 from every book sold will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

Lead With Your HeartThe heartwarming story of a misunderstood pit bull and a very shy little girl named Reny. Together, with the help of friends, family, and a goofy pack of mixed breed dogs, they confront and overcome the challenges of being misjudged and bullied.

The adventure begins when Lance is adopted by Reny’s family and must learn to be an “inside dog.” He and the quiet little girl become buddies when Lance tries to help Reny overcome her anxiety about school where she is being teased and bullied. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Lance has problems of his own. Big, black and tough-looking, Lance often frightens people who don’t know him. He is thrust into the limelight of a bigger problem when Mrs. Krutch, a grown-up who bullies, introduces a way to ban pit bulls from the town.

It takes a petition signing campaign, an appearance at city hall by everyone involved, and an act of courage by Reny to defeat the proposed law. In the end, it is Reny’s ability to lead with her heart and speak her truth that overcomes Mrs. Krutch’s fear and reminds everyone not to judge a book by its cover.

For information about Jena Ball, ordering books, author visits, and how to introduce Project Based Learning (PBL) initiatives at your school, visit the author’s site at:

Reviews and praise for Lead With Your Heart and “Be Kind” projects visit: Critterkin/Books.


The Grumpy Bull

 Written and illustrated by Adrienne Kummerl

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Suggested Audiences: Kindergarten to 4th grade

The Grumpy BullA grumpy bull walks into a village seeing animals of different color, shapes, and sizes. The bull can’t believe his eyes and points, laughs and criticizes. A lion approaches the bull and begins to explain without strife about differences as he teaches the bull an important lesson in life.

View the artwork of Grumpy Bull at


The Good, the Bad, and the Bullies

 Written by Levi Fallavollita
Illustrated by Gabe Villa

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Suggested Audiences: 2nd to 4th grade

The Good, the Bad, and the BulliesYoung author Levi Fallavollita and his friend Gabe Villa collaborated to tell their story about bullying in the hopes that their book will raise awareness about bullying and help other students who are struggling. Now in middle school, Levi and Gabe know what it’s like to be bullied, and this simple, powerful story will touch students and adults alike.


Bullied Comics

 Written and Illustrated by Daniel Keane

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Suggested Audiences: 1st to 8th grade

Bullied ComicsJuly 2014 marks the release of the first issue of “Bullied Comic.” This is a story about Joshua who, while just trying to get through school like everyone else, encounters a bullying problem. This story is told from the children’s point of view. It is a story of friendship, betrayal, parenting, and acceptance. Author Daniel Keane believes that “art has the ability to make the world a better place and unite people all over the world. Watch for future issues of the soon-to-be series!






Confessions of A Former Bully

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Random House

  By Trudy Ludwig

Suggested Audience: Middle School

Confessions of A Former BullyEver wonder what goes on in the mind of someone who bullies?Katie never thought of herself as a bully. So what if she excludes kids from games or says some harsh things to her friends every once and a while? It’s not like she ever hits anyone. What’s the big deal? After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she faces consequences for her actions. The consequences help Katie realize that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too. Told from the unusual perspective of the aggressor, Confessions of a Former Bully provides kids with real life tips and tools they can use to help identify and overcome emotional bullying. An informative Author’s Note to Parents & Teachers and recommended resources are included.


The Adventures of Emery Jones, Boy Science Wonder

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  By Charles and Elsheba Johnson and Illustrated by Charles Johnson

Suggested Audiences: 5th – 9th grade

The Adventures of Emery Jones, Boy Science WonderEmery Jones is a genius – he even built a robot butler to do his chores. Despite his brains, however, Emery’s life isn’t easy. The other students don’t understand him, and that makes them lash out at him. When Emery accidentally sends one of the students who bullied him 190 million years back in time, he must figure out how to save him…or even if he wants to.

Told from the perspective of Emery’s best friend, Gabby, The Adventures of Emery Jones is sure to thrill and delight students. Combining an engaging story with real, tough lessons about responsibility and forgiveness, this book is an excellent way to open up discussions with students.


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Random House

By R.J. Palacio

Suggested Audiences: 5th – 7th grade

Wonder  August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder by R.J. Palacio begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness”—indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Sign the pledge to “Be Kind”


The Offenders

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  By Jerry Craft with Jaylen Craft and Aren Craft

Suggested Audiences: 5th – 7th grade

The OffendersFive middle school students as different from each other as they could be have to band together when a freak accident gives them superpowers…with a twist. Instead of super strength or the ability to fly, these students end up taking on the characteristics of the students they used to bully. When the school is in trouble, will they be able to learn from their past mistakes in time to save the school?

Creative, funny, and engaging – this book presents a unique look at the dynamics of bullying. With a diverse cast of characters, the book illustrates that bullying affects everyone – and that the students bullying can change their behavior and make their school a more positive place.


I Am Jack

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Usborne Books

  By Susanne Gervay and Illustrated by Cathy Wilcox

Suggested Audiences: 5th – 7th grade

I Am JackJack is an upbeat, happy 11-year old until a bullying situation at school leads to fear, isolation, and shame. Jack tries to handle the situation himself, but it just keeps getting worse. Eventually his friends decide that enough is enough and the adults step in with a plan to help.

Told in Jack’s voice, this book is full of humor and heart. It shows the power of friendship, family, and community to prevent and address bullying. Jack is a unique and engaging narrator that readers can’t help but root for. Parents and teachers will gain insight into students’ perspectives on bullying by sharing and discussing this book with students – and students will relate to Jack’s struggles and triumphs.

Download the teacher’s guide to I Am Jack





The Survival Guide to Bullying

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  Written by Aija Mayrock

Suggested Audiences: Middle and High School Students

The Survival Guide to BullyingThe Survival Guide to Bullying covers everything from cyber bullying to how to deal with fear and how to create the life you dream of having. From inspiring “roems” (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes, this book will light the way to a brighter future. This updated edition also features new, never-before-seen content including a chapter about how to talk to parents, an epilogue, and an exclusive Q&A with the author.

Want to learn more? Visit these sites:


Words Wound

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  By Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D., and Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D.

Suggested Audiences: 9th – 12th grade

Words WoundVicious words and damaging photos exchanged through texts, email, or social media can result in humiliation, broken friendships, punishment at school, and even legal prosecution. In some cases, online harassment has contributed to suicide.

Written by experts in cyberbullying prevention, Words Wound provides strategies for teens dealing with cyberbullying as well as for those who have taken part in bullying others. The book gives teens the tools they need to keep themselves safe online, protect their digital reputations, and make their schools and their communities kinder places. Includes true stories by teens who have been cyberbullied and are working to eliminate online bullying in their schools.

Download the free leader’s guide to Words Wound.


Seven Chances

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By Heather Slee

Suggested Audiences: 9th – 12th grade

Seven Chances  After a horribly embarrassing incident at school was photographed for the world to see, Abby just wants to get her life back to the way it was. With the help of mysterious magic stones, Abby gets the chance to redo parts of her life. This seems like the perfect solution to her problems…but Abby soon learns that all choices have consequences, and soon hers will catch up to her.

Suspenseful, engaging, and heartwarming, Abby’s story offers great lessons on resiliency, empathy, and empowerment. Abby discovers that she never needed the magic stones to take control of her own life. Teens will relate to Abby’s anguished experience with bullying and rejoice with her when she discovers the power she has to affect change.

2015 Hispanic Heritage Month


Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.During National Hispanic Heritage Month(September 15 to October 15) we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
According to this Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a significant increase from 2000, which registered the Hispanic population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.


Lupe ValdezLupe Valdez (born October 11, 1947) is an American law enforcement official who is currently the Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas.

Born to migrant farm worker parents, she was raised in San Antonio as the youngest of seven children. She started life working in the fields, but paid her way through college,  earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. She then earned a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Prior to entering law enforcement, Lupe Valdez was an officer in the United States Army. During her time in the Army, she attained the rank of Captain.

Her law enforcement career began as a jailer, first in a county jail and then a federal prison. She then moved on to investigative roles as an agent of the General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, finally, the U.S. Customs Service where she was a leader in the federal Counter Smuggling Initiative. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, she was made a Senior Agent, serving in that role until her retirement in 2004. In January 2004, Lupe Valdez retired to run for the office of Dallas County Sheriff.

On January 2, 2004, Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Dallas County Sheriff. During the primary election, she faced three opponents, and finished as the highest vote-getter with 13,867 votes. She subsequently won a run-off election against future Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. Valdez won 73% of the vote in the run-off.

As she entered the general campaign, Valdez was widely considered the underdog in her general election race against Republican Danny Chandler. Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, had defeated incumbent Sheriff Jim Bowles in the Republican primary. Bowles, who was tainted by corruption allegations, had held the office for 20 years.

The general election saw Valdez beat Chandler by 51.3% to 48.7% – a margin of some 18,000 votes. The election, combined with the fact that Valdez is female, Hispanic and a lesbian, made national headlines and was even reported overseas.

On November 4, 2008, Lupe Valdez was re-elected Sheriff of Dallas County with 388,327 votes to Lowell Cannaday’s 322,808 votes, a margin of roughly 65,500. Valdez received over 99,000 more votes than the heterosexual Democratic” option. She won in precincts across Dallas County, including formerly Republican areas including Valley Ranch in Irving and Mesquite. Her opponent won most precincts in far North Dallas, Richardson, Coppell, and the southern part of Irving. She began her second four-year term on January 1, 2009.

In 2010, the Dallas County Jails passed inspection by the State of Texas for the first time since 2003. Completion of a new jail facility in 2009 and continued investment from Dallas County were cited as steps towards re-certification of the Dallas County jail system, which passed inspection once again in 2011.

Also in 2010, Sheriff Valdez was elected to the Democratic National Committee and was appointed by President Barack Obama to a committee regarding immigration reform.

In November, 2012, Valdez won a third term, defeating Republican challenger Kirk Launius. She also announced in 2015 that she would be seeking a fourth term in 2016.

Camilo ArenivarCamilo Arenivar (born June 2, 1967) is a founding member of the Los Angeles-based POZ Power Coalition, part of The Wall-Las Memorias Project. Since 2007 he has been Quality Assurance Engineer at Entertainment Partners. Additional work included creation of the now defunct LGBT Hip Hop website, It is now become what Arenivar calls “a ditigal archive” He was the organizer and tour manager for the HomoRevolution Tour, the first ever organized road tour of LGBT hip hop artists which traveled to 10 cities in the southwestern United States. In 2009, he launched Big Milo Records, the first independent record label geared toward LGBT Hip Hop with distribution, the site is now defunct.

Arenivar has managed gay rappers such as Deadlee and Latino hip hop group, Salvimex, Tori Fixx in the past. Arenivar is passionate about his efforts, largely in part to integrate mainstream rap and hip hop into gay culture and vice versa, to show that there is a significant audience in the LGBT community and to prove that said mainstream genre is not limited to the so-called “haters” (typically homophobics).

Arenivar has also been a movie critic blogging on the popular and on his site.[10] He has also been a freelance journalist in the Los Angeles area for several years.[11]

Arenivar grew up in Pittsburg, California, USA.

Iyari Pérez LimónIyari Pérez Limón (born July 8, 1976) is an American actress, best known for her supporting role as Potential Slayer Kennedy on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Limón was born in Guadalajara, California, US, USA, ), UA on July 8, 1976. She moved to Los Angeles, California, at the age of one, and grew up in Southern California.

Limón has appeared in numerous TV commercials, both in Spanish and English. Among her credits are commercials for Toyota, Dr Pepper, and Always.

During her screen test for the part of Carmen in The L Word, Limón ad libbed a Spanish phrase into Kate Moennig’s ear (“Quiero lamerte hasta que te vengas en mi boca mil veces” – “I want to lick you until you come in my mouth a thousand times”). The phrase was written into the show, and later used in the series by Sarah Shahi’s Carmen.   Limón played Clovis Galletta in the 2011 video game, L.A. Noire.

Limón came out as bisexual in an interview with the website in April 2006, in which she stated that she was once married to Napoleon Dynamite actor Efren Ramirez and was, at the time of the interview, dating DJane Sandra Edge. In September 2007, further reported that Limon and Edge had ended their relationship, and that Limon was pregnant by her boyfriend Alejandro Soltero.  Limon married Alejandro Soltero and their daughter was born on August 24, 2007.


Michael Angel NavaMichael Angel Nava (born September 16, 1954 in Stockton, California) is an American attorney and writer. He has worked on the staff for the California Supreme Court, and ran for a Superior Court position in 2010. He authored a seven-volume mystery series featuring Henry Rios, an openly gay protagonist who is a criminal defense lawyer. His novels have received six Lambda Literary Awards and critical acclaim in the GLBT and Latino communities.

Nava grew up in Gardenland, a predominantly working-class Mexican neighborhood in Sacramento, California that he described as “not as an American suburb at all, but rather as a Mexican village, transported perhaps from Guanajuato, where my grandmother’s family originated, and set down lock, stock and chicken coop in the middle of California.” His maternal family settled there in 1920 after escaping from the Mexican Revolution. Nava’s grandmother was an “influential force” whose “piety and humility that was highlighted by her Catholic beliefs.”

At 12 years old, he started writing and it was also around that time he recognized that he was gay. He was the first person in his family to go to college; he attended Colorado College and “acquired a special affinity for literature and writing.”[ He joined a group of young poets that included writer and humorist David Owen and the poet David Mason. He graduated in 1976 cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Nava received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and spent the following year in Buenos Aires and Madrid where he worked on translations of works by Spanish-American poet Rubén Darío. After returning, he considered graduate education in English or History. He enrolled in Stanford Law School, and received his J.D. in 1981.

Nava worked in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, where he was a deputy attorney and prosecutor on about 50 jury trials. In 1985, he became an associate at the appellate boutique firm Horvitz & Levy, located in Encino, California.] He then served as a judicial staff attorney for Arleigh Woods, the first female African-American appellate court justice in California, from 1986-1995. One of the cases he worked on was Jasperson v. Jessica’s Nail Clinic in 1989, which resulted in the first published decision to uphold an HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination statute.

After Woods retired, Nava moved back to Northern California and settled in San Francisco. In 1999, he joined the staff of the California Supreme Court. In 2004, he became a judicial attorney for Carlos R. Moreno, who was the third Latino to ever sit on the California Supreme Court.  Nava said “Judicial attorneys and law clerks can have a huge influence in shaping the direction of the law, but there are very few attorneys of color in those positions because they are mostly filled through the Old Boys Network. We need to establish our own network.”

From 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness, which advises the State Bar’s board of governors on diversity issues. In 2008, he wrote The Servant of All: Humility, Humanity, and Judicial Diversity, a law review article where he put forth the case for judicial diversity.

In 2010, Nava ran for Seat 15 of the San Francisco Superior Court. In the June election, he received a plurality of the votes, but the position required a majority. In the November run-off election with incumbent Richard Ulmer, he received 87,511 votes (46.83%) compared to Ulmer’s 99,342 (53.17%).

After graduating from Stanford Law School, Nava began writing his first novel. The Little Death features Henry Rios, an openly gay Latino criminal defense lawyer who worked in Los Angeles. He was inspired to create Rios because of a comment by author Toni Morrison about writing books that she could have read when she was growing up. After the novel was rejected by thirteen publishers, it was picked up by Alyson Books, and published in 1986. His follow-up novel, Goldenboy, published in 1988, received critical acclaim by the New York Times which called him a “brilliant storyteller.” From 1990-2000, Nava wrote five more Henry Rios books: How TownThe Hidden LawThe Death of FriendsThe Burning Plain, and Rag and Bone. He received six Lambda Literary Awards. In 2001, he was awarded the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle, a GLBT professional group within the publishing industry.

In 1994, he co-authored the book Created Equal: Why Gay Rights Matter to America.

After not having written any new novels since 2000, Nava announced in 2008 that he has drafted a new work, The Children of Eve, which was set in the Mexican Revolution. He based one of the main characters on his grandfather. The Children of Eve would later be redone as a quartet of historical fiction novels; the first book would be titled The City of Palaces.

In October 2008, Nava married his partner George Herzog, an oncology nurse at the Veteran’s Administration hospital in San Francisco. California Supreme Court justice Carlos R. Moreno presided over the ceremony. They live in Daly City, California.

Carmen CarreraCarmen Carrera (born April 13, 1985) is an American reality television personality, model, burlesque performer, and actress, known for appearing on the third season of the Logo reality television series RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as its spin-off series RuPaul’s Drag U. Although she presented as male during the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, on May 1, 2012, ABC News reported that Carrera is a transgender woman.

The November 2011 issue of W featured a series of fictional products in realistically styled advertisements as part of an issue-wide art project. Carrera was featured in the series as the face for the fictional fragrance La Femme.[9] In 2011, Carrera, along with third seasonDrag Race contestants Manila Luzon and Shangela Laquifa Wadley, appeared in a television commercial for the travel-related website Orbitz.[10]

Carrera has also been active in AIDS awareness and activism. After being featured in aGilead Sciences ad entitled “Red Ribbon Runway” with fellow Drag Race co-stars Manila Luzon, Delta Work, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, and Alexis Mateo,[11] the dress she wore was auctioned by Logo in commemoration of World AIDS Day. Proceeds from the auction were donated to the National Association of People with AIDS.[12]

Carrera appeared as a “drag professor” in two episodes of the second season of RuPaul’s Drag U. In the episode “80s Ladies,” she gave singer Stacey Q a confidence-boosting makeover.[13]

In an episode of the ABC news program Primetime: What Would You Do? that aired on May 4, 2012, Carrera portrayed the role of a transgender server working in a New Jersey diner. An actor playing a customer berates Carrera’s character regarding his past experience of being served by her when she had presented as male, prompting other customers to come to Carrera’s defense. This program also marked the first occasion in which Carrera publicly revealed herself to be transgender.[3]

In 2014, Carrera was included as part of the Advocate’s annual “40 under 40” list[23] and made a cameo appearance on Jane the Virgin’s premier episode.

Also in 2014, Carrera was featured on the fifth anniversary cover of CNDY magazine along with 13 other transgender women: Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Geena Rocero, Isis King, Gisele Alicea, Leyna Ramous, Dina Marie, Nina Poon, Juliana Huxtable, Niki M’nray, Pêche Di, Carmen Xtravaganza and Yasmine Petty.

She is of Puerto Rican-Peruvian ancestry.

Mitch KellawayMitch Kellaway is a transgender news reporter, Pushcart Prize-nominated writer, and the co-editor of  Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family & Themselves, an anthology of personal narratives by trans men. He currently covers trans news for the

Mitch has written over 400 articles, op-eds, essays, interviews, and reviews about LGBT people, with a focus on transgender communities. He’s gotten a chance to speak with and write about a number of today’s transgender luminaries, including Laverne Cox, Laura Jane Grace, S. Bear Bergman, Trace Lysette, Angelica Ross, and Sgt. Shane Ortega.

In addition to The Advocate, his writing has appeared in the Lambda Literary ReviewEveryday Feminism, Huffington PostMic, Out, and Original Plumbing magazine, and has been published in several literary journals and anthologies including Jonathan: A Journal of Gay FictionZeteoRe*cog*nize: The Voices of Bisexual MenBest Sex Writing 2015Finding Masculinity: Female-to-Male Transition in Adulthood, and Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity (forthcoming 2015).

An openly queer, biracial man, Mitch holds a degree in gender studies from Harvard University and lives with his wife in Somerville, MA.

MCC Celebrating Women’s History Month

Women's-History-20152015 Theme: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

March 2015

Take the 2015 Black Women History Quiz

Women of the 1965 Civil Rights Movement

Women were central to the US Civil Rights Movement, but they were sometimes pushed to the side and today their contributions are often overlooked. This month we will pay them homage. These are just a few of the many women who were critical to the movement’s success in Selma and across the country.

EllaBakerElla Baker (1903 – 1986)

In a largely behind-the-scenes career that spanned more than five decades, Baker worked with many famous civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and A. Philip Randolph. In 1957, at King’s request, she became executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

To learn more click  here:

Daisy BatesDaisy Bates (1914 – 1999)      

Bates and her husband founded the Arkansas State Press, a weekly paper modeled after the leading black publications of the era. In 1957 she guided the 9 black students who triggered a civil rights showdown when they attempted to enter the all-white Central High School in Little Rock.

To learn more click here: ,

Amelia Boyton

Amelia Boyton ( 1911 – )

In Selma, Mrs. Amelia Boynton was a stalwart with the DCVL and played a critical role for decades in nurturing African American efforts to register to vote. She welcomed SNCC to town and helped support the younger activists and their work. When Judge Hare’s injunction slowed the grassroots organizing, she initiated the invitation to King and SCLC.

To learn more click here: , ,

Marie FosterMarie Foster (1917 – 2003)

Another local activist, Foster taught citizenship classes even before SNCC arrived. In early 1965 when SCLC began escalating the confrontation in Selma, Boynton and Foster were both in the thick of things, inspiring others and putting their own bodies on the line. They were leaders on Bloody Sunday and the subsequent march to Montgomery.

To learn more click here:

Prathia Hall

Prathia Hall (1940 – 2002)

In 1978, Hall followed after her father to become a Baptist preacher in Philadelphia. Before that, as a civil rights activist in Georgia, she was shot by a white gunman, shot at by police and jailed many times. A powerful orator, her signature phrase, “I have a dream,” may have inspired MLK’s most famous speech.

To learn more click here: , ,

Fannie Lou HamerFannie Lou Hamer (1917 – 1977)

In 1963, after she and two other voting rights activists were viciously beaten while in police custody in Winona, Miss., Hamer decided to devote her life to the fight for civil rights. A year later she helped draw national attention to the cause as a leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged Mississippi’s all-white delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

To learn more click here: ,

Dorothy Height

Dorothy Height (1912 – 2010)

Height was “both the grande dame of the civil rights era and its unsung heroine,” as the New York Times once put it. The longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women and a prize-winning orator, she was a key organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. (Her male counterparts, however, allowed no women to speak that day.)

To learn more click here: ,

Coretta Scott KingCoretta Scott King (1927 – 2006) 

Though she held a degree in voice and violin from the New England Conservatory of Music, King, alongside her famous husband, became a civil rights leader in her own right. After his assassination in 1968, she championed the building of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change as a living memorial to her husband’s work.

To learn more click here:

Colia Liddll Lafayette

Colia Liddll Lafayette  (1940 – )

Though Colia Lafayette worked side by side with husband Bernard, recruiting student workers and doing the painstaking work of building a grassroots movement in Selma, she has become almost invisible and typically mentioned only in passing, as his wife.

To learn more click here:

Mildred LovingMildred Loving (1939 – 2008) 

Loving was thrust into the civil rights movement when she and her husband, who was white, were arrested by the sheriff of Central Point, Va., for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924. The landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision in their case struck down anti-miscegenation laws still on the books in 16 states.

To learn more click here:

Clara Luper

Clara Luper (1923 – 2011)

In 1958, Luper, then a high school history teacher, helped ignite a national movement by leading a sit-in protest at the lunch counter of the Katz Drug Store in Oklahoma City. (The Katz chain began integrating its stores several weeks later.) Luper went on to become a prominent figure in the national civil rights movement.

To learn more click here:

Diane NashDiane Nash (1938 – ) 

Nash was the key strategist behind the first successful campaign to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville, leader of the Nashville Student Freedom Ride campaign to desegregate interstate travel, and a founder of both the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Selma Voting Rights Campaign.

To learn more click here:

Watch this interview of Ms. Nash:

Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)

On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks was arrested after she refused to obey a bus driver and give her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala. Her act of defiance, and the 381-day bus boycott that followed, soon became keystones of the modern civil rights movement. In 1999 Congress honored her as “the first lady of civil rights.” ,

Women of Today’s Civil Rights Movement


Rahiel_TesfamariamRahiel Tesfamariam: Urban Cusp (1981 – )

A public theologian, social activist, writer and speaker. She is Founder / Publisher of, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. The youngest of eight children, Tesfamariam was born in Eritrea during the Eritrean-Ethiopian War. When she was 5, she moved to the U.S., and was raised by her brother and sister in the Bronx and Washington, D.C. Rahiel is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a Master of Divinity from Yale University where she was the inaugural William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Scholar for Peace and Justice. Tesfamariam traveled to war-torn Darfur in 2005. The experience led Tesfamariam, to found, a site that publishes lifestyle, faith and entertainment articles designed to combat negative images of African-Americans in media. “What young people internalize daily shapes who they are,” she says. “The music they’re listening to shapes their understanding of Black masculinity, or sexuality, and part of launching Urban Cusp was to provide an alternate reality that depicts African-Americans in an intellectual, spiritual way.”

To learn more click here: , ,

Ciara Taylor

Ciara Taylor: Dream Defenders

Taylor is the political director of Dream Defenders, a Florida-based organization that fights Stand Your Ground laws and focuses on a number of other issues affecting young people of color, including the school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality, voting rights and access to education. The group was founded in April 2012 by Taylor and 39 other students after the killing of Sanford, Florida, teen Trayvon Martin. Local officials and law enforcement met with them and listened to their list of demands: one, for Zimmerman to be arrested; two, for the chief of police to be fired; and three, for there to be an investigation of the Stand Your Ground law. Three days after Zimmerman’s acquittal, the Dream Defenders held a 31-day sit-in inside Florida’s state capitol, and were eventually invited to the governor’s office to discuss issues affecting young people of color. “In the back of my mind, I’m thinking, I could just go to law school, have a simple life,” says Taylor. “But I think about my younger siblings and the family I want to have in the future. I want to create a world in which they can live without fear. I want my generation to be free, to live and to really flourish.”

To learn more click here: ,

Monica SimpsonMonica Simpson: SisterSong  (1980 – )

Simpson, 35, is the executive director of SisterSong, a nonprofit composed of 80 grassroots organizations dedicated to the preservation of reproductive rights for women of color.

Simpson grew up in Wingate, North Carolina, and says that there were very clear lines that separated Black and White people. “I was put in situations where I was ‘the only,’ like being the only Black child in honors classes,” says Simpson. “Those instances really started me on the path to activism, fighting for the rights of Black people, fighting for women’s rights.” Simpson began working at SisterSong in 2010, around the same time that the antiabortion group Georgia Right to Life erected billboards in Atlanta that read, “Black children are an endangered species.” In response to the inflammatory ad, SisterSong established a group, Trust Black Women,  that created media campaigns and worked with the NAACP, churches and other organizations to counter the billboards’ message.

To learn more click here:,

Nicole Porter

Nicole Porter: The Sentencing Project (1979 – )

Porter is the Director of Advocacy at The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that works toward criminal justice reforms. “My twin brother’s incarceration underpins a lot of work that I do, to emphasize that though someone might have committed a serious crime, they are much more than what that crime was,” she says. Before joining The Sentencing Project, Porter was the director of the ACLU’s Prison & Jail Accountability Project, where she monitored the conditions at Texas prisons. Today, Porter and her colleagues at The Sentencing Project work to change laws that determine the rate of incarceration and the length of confinement. They fight for the rights of the formerly incarcerated, some of whom are denied voting rights, and others who face lifetime bans from receiving food stamps and public housing.

Porter believes that the focus should be on intervention rather than imprisonment. “Public safety isn’t just about locking people up,” she says. “It’s about providing targeted services for at-risk children—access to early childhood education and models for how to resolve conflict.”

To learn more click here: ,

Opal TometiOpal Tometi: The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (1985 – )

Tometi’s interest in immigration reform was born out of personal experience. Tometi grew up in Phoenix—”ground zero for the anti-immigration movement,” she says—and is the child of immigrants. Her parents moved to the U.S. from Nigeria in 1983, and Tometi was raised in a close-knit community of Nigerian immigrants. Learning about anti-immigrant initiatives and their parallels to Jim Crow laws, Tometi was moved to fight against what she saw as a grave injustice. “It was very personal,” says Tometi. “Because people I loved were at risk; I was at risk.” Tometi volunteered with the ACLU to monitor and report the activities of vigilantes who were stopping immigrants as they tried to cross the border during college Today, Tometi is executive director of The Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Tometi has helped develop a network of Black immigrant organizations around the country. Her hope is that more African-Americans will join in the struggle for immigrant rights.

To learn more click here:,

Je-Shawna Wholley

Je-Shawna Wholley: National Black Justice Coalition (1990 – )

Though Je-Shawna Wholley had come out as a lesbian to high school friends when she was 16, she hid her sexual identity from her mother and the Army, which had recruited her with the suggestion that she apply for an ROTC scholarship to Texas A&M University. Wholley eventually transferred to Spelman where she joined and helped reinvigorate the college’s LGBT association, Afrekete. The group sponsored AIDS walks, had a drag fashion show, and, when Wholley became president, hosted a pride week. As programs manager at the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people, Wholley travels to universities to help them become safer and more inclusive for LGBT students. She believes that mainstream LGBT groups have made strides in the fight for marriage equality, but they do not address the issues that most directly affect young people of color, such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, violence, an open dialogue and an acceptance of LGBT people of color within their families, and within the Black community as a whole.

To learn more click here: ,

Photo Credits

Ella Baker, Jack Harris, AP

Daisy Bates, Time & Life Pictures Getty Images

Amelia Boyton, Green  County Democrat

Marie Foster, Jack Harris, AP

Prathia Hall,  Bettmann CORBIS

Fannie Hamer, Huffingtonpost

Dorothy Height, Eurweb

Coretta King, Michael Evans New York Times

Colia Liddll Lafayette,   Jack Harris AP

Mildred Loving, Bettmann CORBIS

Clara Luper, Doug Dawg

Diane Nash, Jack Harris AP

Rosa Parks, Alamy AP

Tesfamarian, Taylor, Simpson, Porter, Tometi and Wholley, Essence


35th Anniversary of the National Women’s History Project Celebrating Women’s History Month

National Women’s History Project

Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.  ~ Myra Pollack Sadker


History helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished.


Multicultural American women are overlooked in most mainstream approaches to U.S. history, so the National Women’s History Project champions their accomplishments and leads the drive to write women back into history.


Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine – has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women.


With an emphasis on positive role models and the importance of women from all backgrounds, the NWHP has developed a nationwide constituency of teachers, students, parents, public employees, businesses, organizations, and individuals who understand the critical link between knowing about historical women and making a positive difference in today’s world.


2015 Honorees from NWHP

2014 Fellowship Sunday Campaign


Make your donation online today!

Sign up now as a Pacesetter to take up a special offering for Fellowship Sunday. Email with your church name, location, pastor name, planned offering date, and commitment to pray.

We’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating: We are stronger together! One of the ways we connect and grow together is through our Networks. I want to thank all of the Pacesetter churches that have already signed up to participate in the Fellowship Sunday Offering, some of whom have already taken up this offering. We would love to add your church’s name to the list, and it’s not too late! Your support of Fellowship Sunday will go towards continuing to resource and empower our Networks to better serve you, which will, in turn, further our capacity to grow stronger together. And thank you to all of the churches that have also committed to pray for the health and vitality of our churches and Fellowship!

Nancy Wilson FS vid screenshot

Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson says she believes Networks are the glue that will hold MCC together and help us live up to the vision of our Strategic Plan. In the past year, we have seen the Networks help MCC live out its Strategic Plan in the area of global outreach and visibility.

One example: Network Leader Jochen Gewecke recently led the first Europe Network gathering with participants from eight European countries, the U.S., and Puerto Rico. This included participants from emerging groups and churches in Portugal, Italy, Finland, and Sweden, all of whom benefited from leadership training, fellowship, and networking to grow their churches. The Europe Network is also working with emerging groups and churches from the Netherlands, Spain, Romania, and Lithuania to expand and strengthen MCC’s presence throughout Europe.

Sign up now as a Pacesetter to take up a special offering for Fellowship Sunday. Email with your church name, location, pastor name, planned offering date, and commitment to pray.




Rev. Tony Freeman

Director of the Office of Church Life and Health

Tony Freeman (2014)



as of 10 November 2014

aChurch4Me MCC
Chicago, Illinois, USA – Rev. Jennie Kitch, Pastor
All God’s Children MCC
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – Rev. DeWayne Davis, Pastor
Cornerstone MCC
Mobile, Alabama, USA – Rev. Sandy O’Steen, Pastor
Exodus MCC
Abilene, Texas, USA – Rev. Margaret Walker, Pastor
FirstCoast MCC
St. Augustine, Florida, USA – Rev. Ruth Jensen-Forbell, Pastor
Founders MCC Los Angeles
California, USA – Rev. Dr. Neil Thomas, Pastor
Heartland MCC
Springfield, Illinois, USA – Rev. Gina Durbin, Interim Pastor
Imago Dei MCC
Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, USA – Rev. Dexter Brecht, Pastor
King of Peace MCC
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA – Rev. Dr. Candace Shultis, Pastor
Living Springs MCC
Bath, England – Rev. Kieren Bourne, Pastor
MCC Amarillo
Texas, USA – Rev. Bernie Barbour, Pastor
MCC Baton Rouge
Louisiana, USA – Rev. Keith Mozingo, Pastor
MCC Boston
Massachusetts, USA – Open pulpit
MCC Brighton
UK – Open pulpit
MCC Brisbane
Australia – Rev. Dr. Leigh R Neighbour, Pastor
MCC Charleston
South Carolina, USA – Rev. Lorraine Brock, Pastor
MCC Detroit
Michigan, USA – Rev. Roland Stringfellow, Pastor
MCC Good Shepherd
Western Sydney, Australia – Rev. Robert Clark, Pastor
MCC Key West
Florida, USA – Rev. Steve Torrence, Pastor
MCC Louisville
Kentucky, USA – Rev. Colleen Foley, Pastor
MCC Lubbock
Texas, USA – Rev. Tony Thieman-Somora, Pastor
MCC of Albuquerque
New Mexico, USA – Rev. Judith Maynard, Pastor
MCC of Greater Saint Louis
Missouri, USA – Rev. Wes Mullins, Pastor
MCC of Hartford
Connecticut, USA – Rev. Aaron Miller, Pastor
MCC of New Orleans
Louisiana, USA – Rev. Alisan Rowland, Pastor
MCC of Northern Virginia
Fairfax, Virginia, USA – Rev. Danny Spears, Pastor
MCC of the Coachella Valley
Cathedral City, California, USA – Rev. Clinton Crawshaw, Pastor
MCC of the Quad Cities
Davenport, Iowa, USA – Rev. Rich Hendricks, Pastor
MCC of the Spirit
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA – Rev. Lori Rivera, Pastor
MCC of Topeka
Kansas, USA – Open pulpit
MCC Portland
Oregon, USA – Rev. Nathan Meckley, Pastor
MCC San Diego
California, USA – Rev. Dan Koeshall, Pastor
MCC San Francisco
California, USA – Rev. Robert Shively, Pastor
MCC Winston-Salem
North Carolina, USA – Rev. Ron LaRocque, Pastor
New Creation MCC
Columbus, Ohio, USA – Rev. Margaret Hawk, Pastor
New Life MCC
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA – Rev. Dawn Flynn, Pastor
New Light MCC
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA – Rev. Kelly Crenshaw & Rev. Sherry Miller, Transitional Co-Pastors
New Spirit MCC
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA – Rev. Joy Simpson, Pastor
Northern Lights MCC
Newcastle, UK – Rev. Elder Cecilia Eggleston, Pastor
Open Arms MCC
Pahoa, Hawaii, USA – Rev. Dr. William Knight
Open Circle MCC
Oxford, Florida, USA – Rev. Carol Chambers, Pastor
Open Door MCC
Boyds, Maryland, USA – Rev. Miller Jen Hoffman
Resurrection MCC
Houston, Texas, USA – Rev. Troy Treash, Pastor
River of Life MCC
Dorchester, UK – Rev. Catherine Dearlove, Pastor
River of Life MCC
Kennewick, Washington, USA – Rev. Janet Pierce, Pastor
Shenandoah Valley MCC
Winchester, Virginia, USA – Rev. Gail Minnick, Pastor
Spirit of Hope MCC
Kansas City, Missouri, USA – Rev. Dr. Carol Trissell, Interim Pastor
St. John the Apostle MCC
Fort Myers, Florida, USA – Rev. Steve Filizzi, Pastor
SunCoast Cathedral MCC
Venice, Florida, USA – Rev. Dr. Sherry Kennedy, Pastor
Trinity MCC of Gainesville
Florida, USA – Rev. Kathy Beasley, Gap Pastor


Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month 2014


I Am Beyond!

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a month to celebrate and pay tribute to the contributions generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders have made to American history, society and culture.

presidentsigningAsian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month originated in 1978 when Congress passed Pub. L. 95-419 (PDF, 63KB). This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. On March 28, 1979, President Carter (photo credit: Associated Press), issued Presidential Proclamation 4650. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce.

Over the next ten years, Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush continued to annually issue proclamations designating a week in May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.

In 1990, Congress passed Pub. L. 101-283 (PDF, 91KB) which amended Pub. L. 95-419.  Pub. L. 101-283 requested the President to issue a proclamation which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month in May 1990.  This law called on the people of the United States to observe Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with “appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities.”  President George H.W. Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130 on May 7, 1990 designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

The following year, Pub. L. 102-42 (PDF, 125KB) was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush on May 14, 1991.  This law requested that the President proclaim May 1991 and May 1992 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Months.”  This law also recognized the significance of May 7th and May 10th in the history of Asian/Pacific Americans.  May 7, 1843 is the date on which the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States while on May 10, 1869 the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese pioneers.  In 1992, Congress passed Pub. L. 102-450 (PDF, 204KB) which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Pursuant to Pub. L. 102-450 Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama have annually issued proclamations designating May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Heritage Month” and on May 1, 2009 President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8369 (PDF) which recalls the challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and celebrates their great and significant contributions to our society.

Konrad NgKonrad Ng Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
(Photo credit:

Since 1977, the month of May recognizes the achievements and contributions of Asian  Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians to the American story. The legislation honoring the significance of our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage was introduced by some of the finest Asian Americans in U.S. history: Congressman Norman Mineta, Senator Spark Matsunaga, and Senator Daniel Inouye.

This May, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center theme for AAPI Heritage Month is “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures the aspirations of the American spirit, how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America. “I Am Beyond” recognizes Dalip Singh Saund’s election as the first Asian American Congressman in 1957 after campaigning for the rights of all Asian immigrants to become naturalized U.S. citizens. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the civil rights work of Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz in championing for the rights of American workers across communities. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the achievements of Patsy Mink, the first woman of color and first Asian American woman elected to Congress, a woman whose legacy includes the promotion of equal opportunity in education. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the legacy of Chinese American Grace Lee Boggs, a major figure in the civil rights movement who continues to work on empowering communities in Detroit, MI at nearly 100 years old. “I Am Beyond” recognizes the passionate service of Daniel K. Inouye, decorated World War II veteran and long-time Senator, whom President Barack Obama has called “a true American hero” and “my earliest political inspiration.” “I Am Beyond” is the theme of the new Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center exhibition Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, a look at the history, art and culture of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans in the U.S. beyond stereotypes.


The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center invites agencies, cities, communities, individuals, organizations, and states across the country to join the commemoration of AAPI Heritage Month. Please join us in recognizing the rich and complex past, present, and future of AAPI communities, our organizations, our leaders and innovators, our artists and musicians, our organizers and activists, our teachers and students, our youth and elders—AAPIs from all walks of life. Create and share your interpretation of the theme through art, music, performance and literature or through an event, video, film or documentary. More details coming For those on social media, please use the #IAMBEYOND hashtag. 

One made a splash riding waves in Hawaii. Another made his mark walking the halls of Congress. Still another made history designing an American landmark.

Duke KahanamokuKing of the Waves
Duke Kahanamoku (photo credit came to be known as the father of international surfing, but the Hawaiian native made his first splash as a swimmer at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Born in Honolulu in 1890, Kahanamoku struck gold by setting a world record in the 100-meter free-style and earned a silver medal in the 200-meter relay. He won two more golds at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, a silver at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and a bronze at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Kahanamoku’s swimming and surfing talents caught the attention of Hollywood, and over the course of nine years, he appeared in nearly 30 movies. Kahanamoku went on to serve as sheriff for the City and County of Honolulu for 26 years. When the legendary swimmer and surfer died at the age of 77, he was remembered for his athletic talent and sportsmanship.

To find out more about Duke Kahanamoku, go here.

Dr. Feng Shan HoA True Lifesaver
Dr. Feng Shan Ho (photo credit single-handedly saved thousands of Austrian Jews during the Holocaust. When Dr. Ho arrived in Vienna in 1937 as a Chinese diplomat, Austria had the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Just one year later, however, the Nazis took over Austria and began persecuting Jews. Although they tried to flee, Austrian Jews had nowhere to go because most of the world’s nations would not accept Jewish refugees. Against all odds, many would survive thanks to Dr. Ho. As Chinese General Consul in Vienna, he went against his boss’ orders and began issuing Jews visas to Shanghai, China. These lifesaving documents allowed thousands of Jews to leave Austria and escape death. After 40 years of diplomatic service that included ambassadorships to Egypt, Mexico, Bolivia, and Colombia, Dr. Ho retired to San Francisco, California. At age 89, he published his memoirs, “Forty Years of My Diplomatic Life.” Dr. Ho died in 1997, an unknown hero of World War II.

Read Dr. Feng Shan’s biography, go here.

Dalip Singh SaundA Political Pioneer
Dalip Singh Saund (photo credit made history in 1956 when he became the first Asian elected to Congress. Born in India in 1899, Saund came to the United States in 1920 to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a doctorate degree in mathematics. Despite being highly educated, Saund discovered that his career options were limited due to anti-immigrant feelings in the U.S. As a result, he worked in farming for the next 20 years. At the same time, Saund began fighting discriminatory laws against Indians. In 1949, he and other Indians finally earned the right to become U.S. citizens. In 1956, Saund left the fields of California for the halls of Congress. He served three terms in the House of Representatives, working to improve U.S.-Asian relations. Saund’s political career was cut short when he suffered a stroke while campaigning for a fourth term. Still, he opened the door for Asian Americans to enter U.S. politics.

To find our more about Dalip Singh Saund, go here

Maya LinA Monumental Architect
Maya Lin (photo credit rose to fame in 1981. Just 21-years-old and still an architectural student at Yale University, Lin won a contest to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Her design beat out more than 1,400 entries. The Memorial’s 594-foot granite wall features the names of the more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. Each year, four million people visit the wall to pay their respects to these war heroes. Less than a decade later, Lin designed another famous structure—the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. The monument outlines the major events of the Civil Rights Movement. Today, Lin’s designs can be found in several American cities and continue to inspire the entire nation.

To learn more about Maya Lin, go here

Amy TanA Writing Pro
Amy Tan (photo credit was born in 1952 in Oakland, California, the daughter of Chinese parents who had immigrated to the United States three years earlier. As a teenager, Tan and her family moved to Europe, where she attended high school in Switzerland. Tan later returned to the U.S. to attend college. She gained international attention in 1989 with the publication of her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, a story about Chinese women and their Chinese-American daughters. The book has been translated into 25 languages and has been made into a movie. In addition to her best-selling novels, Tan has also written two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa. Besides writing, Tan plays in a rock ‘n roll band called The Rock Bottom Remainders with several other famous writers, including Stephen King and Scott Turow.

To learn more about Amy Tan, go here

Emerging Asian-Pacific American LGBTQ Leaders

Gregory CendanaStrategist, politico and coalition builder Gregory Cendana (Photo Courtesy of APALA) is the first openly gay and youngest-ever Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement. He also serves as the Chair of National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, as Treasurer for the Labor Coalition for Community Action and is the youngest General Board member of the AFL-CIO. Gregory has been named one of Washington DC’s most influential 40-and-under young leaders, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 & the “Future of DC Politics”. Previously, he served as President of the United States Student Association (USSA), where he played an integral role in the passage of the Student Aid & Fiscal Responsibility Act and Healthcare & Education Reconciliation Act. In his spare time, Gregory enjoys singing karaoke, choreographing dances and trying to cook. Be a part of his journey by following him on twitter at @GregoryCendana.

To learn more about Gregory Cendana go here

Tom HayashiTom Hayashi (Photo Courtesy of OCA) currently serves as the Executive Director of OCA National Center in Washington, DC. Founded as “Organization of Chinese Americans” in 1973, OCA today is a premiere pan-Asian membership driven civil rights organization with a national network of over 80 chapters and affiliates. (He is the first openly gay OCA Executive Director of multi-cultural ethnicity.) Before joining OCA, Tom lead an organizational development firm by the name of Capacity Empowerment as its Principal providing services and counsel to over 80 nonprofit, government, and private sectors. He brings over 19 years of combined professional experience as a former health care provider/administrator, fundraising executive, educator, and community activist.

To learn more about Tom Hayashi, go here

Miriam W. YeungMiriam W. Yeung (Photo Courtesy of NAPAWF), Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC and DC, and chapters in 12 cities, NAPAWF’s current priorities include winning rights for immigrant women, advocating for nail salon workers rights and safety, leading community-based participatory research with young API women, conducting national API opinion polling and winning reproductive justice.

To learn more about Miriam W, Yeung, go here

APHMonth Banner(photo credit:

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.


For Kids

I Am Asian American

On a Monday morning in September, ESL teacher Susan Azzu found she had a new student. Poh was entering the third grade. He was born in Thailand after his mother and sister escaped war and ethnic persecution in Myanmar. Through a refugee program, Poh had just arrived in Chapel Hill, N.C. He spoke no English. Read more


Explore Asian Immigration

Immigration Stories: Yesterday and Today

Discover the plights and accomplishments of one of the largest immigrant groups in the United States.

  • In Angel Island (grades 4–8), one woman relives her childhood journey of immigration from her small village in China to Oakland, CA, in 1933.
  • In Japanese Americans: The War at Home (grades 4–8), students meet Norman Mineta, U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, who shares his boyhood experience as a victim of forced relocation during WWII.
  • Students read 10 biographies of Notable Asian Americans (grades 3–6) and can continue their research by clicking on related links.
  • By clicking on a map of Asia, students learn Asian American Statistics (grades 3–7), a great way to introduce math and to show students there are distinctions between “Asian American” and “Indian American” or “Korean American.”
  • Research Starter: Confucianism (grades 5–8), featuring related vocabulary, articles, and recommended research topics, introduces students to a major Asian religion.
  • Young students can study Asian culture by learning about zodiac signs, sun kites, and calligraphy with these Printable Activities (grades K–2).
Asian-American Scientists

(Feature) Nobel Prize winners, chemists, researchers

Asian-American Athletes

(Feature) Asian American athletes and sports anchors

Asian Americans in Business and Media

(Feature) Entrepreneurs, executives, journalists

Asian Americans in Government

(Feature) Governors, Senators, Representatives, Cabinet Members

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Origins

(Feature) Origins of APA Heritage Month A national celebration established in 1977 by Ricco Villanueva …

Asian American Writers

(Feature) Asian American poets, playwrights, critics, and novelists

Asian American Artists and Musicians

(Feature) Asian American musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors, designers

Asian Americans in Television and Movies

(Feature) Asian American actors, directors, screenwriters

Notable Asian Americans, A-Z

(Feature) Alphabetized links to biographies of notable Asian American

Asian American History Timeline


A list of Asian and Pacific Island Countries.


Brunei Darussalam
China Mainland
China, Taiwan Province of
China, Hong Kong SAR
Korea, Dem. People’s Rep. of
Korea, Rep. of
Sri Lanka


American Samoa
Christmas Island
Coco (Keeling) Islands
Cook Islands
Fiji Islands
French Polynesia
Micronesia, Fed. States of
Northern Mariana Island
New Caledonia
New Zealand
Norfolk Island
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Wallis and Futuna Islands


Heri za Kwanzaa 2013


26 December 2013 – 01 January 2014

Heri za Kwanzaa

Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani

Habari gani (What’s the good news)?

USA - Holidays - Kwanza Founder Dr. Maulana Karenga

Dr. Maulana Karenga

Photo by Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger

Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, who was a leading theorist of The Black Movement in the 1960s. His writing credits are quite extensive and have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Kwanzaa’s birth stems from a cultural idea and an expression of the U.S. organization which Dr. Karenga headed. This new way of exploring self has blossomed into the only internationally celebrated, native, non-religious, non-heroic, non-political African-American holiday.

The name Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili word for “the first fruits of the harvest”. Kiswahili was chosen because it is a non-tribal African language which encompasses a large portion of the African continent. As an added benefit, its pronunciation is rather easy. Vowels are pronounced as they would be in Spanish, and consonants, with few exceptions, as they are in English. For example: A=ah as in father; E=a as in day; I=ee as in free;O=oo as in too. One last note, the accent or stress is almost always on the next to last syllable.

This holiday is observed from 26 December through 1 January. Its focus is to pay tribute to the rich cultural roots of People of the African Diaspora. Though first inspired by African- Americans, many of African descent celebrate this occasion today. Its reach has grown to include all whose roots are in the Motherland. Its concept is neither religious nor political but is rooted strongly in a cultural awareness. This is not a substitute for Christmas; however, gifts may be exchanged with the principles of Nguzo Saba always in mind. Gifts are given to reinforce personal growth and achievement, which benefits the collective community.

The principles, Nguzo Saba, are:

Umoja (unity) U-MO-JA

Kujicahgulia (self determination) KU-JI-CHA-GU-LIA

Ujima (collective work and responsibility) U-JI-MA

Ujamaa (cooperative economics) U-JA-MA

Nia (purpose) NIA

Kuumba (creativity) KU-UM-BA

Imani (faith) I-MANI

We hope that you will pass someone this year and wish them a Harambee Kwanzaa. May the principles guide you year round.

The Symbols of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and contributive to community building and reinforcement.


(The Crops)

mazao-source_epj[1]These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.


(The Mat)

mat2[1]This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.


(The Candle Holder)

kinaraThis is symbolic of our roots, our parent people — continental Africans.


(The Corn)

kwanzaacorn[1]This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.

Mishumaa Saba

(The Seven Candles)

M-210m[1]These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.

Kikombe cha Umoja

(The Unity Cup)

fruitwood-cup[1]This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible..


(The Gifts)

IMG_5178_1[1]These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children. The two supplemental symbols are:


(The Flag)

8633065[1]The colors of the Kwanzaa flag are the colors of the Organization Us, black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. It is based on the colors given by the Hon. Marcus Garvey as national colors for African people throughout the world.

Some Sample Orders of Ceremony 

Official Kwanzaa Website

National Council of Churches (PDF)

Unitarian Universalist


Official Kwanzaa Website

Kwanzaa Resources for Educators

African American Lectionary

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center

On Pouring Libation and Offering Prayer


kwanzaa2[1]Umoja – Unity

26 December

The principle of Umoja (unity) speaks to our need to develop and sustain a sense of oneness, righteous and rightful togetherness in the small and large circles and significant relations of our lives, from family and friendship, to community and the cosmos. It urges us to practice a principled and peaceful togetherness rooted in mutual respect, justice, care and concern, security of person, and equitably shared goods. And it calls on us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, suffering and struggling peoples of the world in the cooperative achievement of these goods.

8AAC1F4636994960B320EBCE2A8085BAKujichagulia – Self-Determination

27 December

The principle of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) instructs us to assert ourselves in self-defining and dignity-affirming ways in the world, as well as to create the miracles, monuments and meaningful relationships and achievements we want in our lives. And it reaffirms our right and responsibility to live liberating and liberated lives, to value and dialog constantly with our own culture, to retrieve and bring forth the best of what it means to be African and human, and to speak this unique and equally valid and valuable truth to the world. And it upholds the right of all peoples in the world to demand and do likewise.

UJIMA[1]Ujima – Collective Work & Responsibility

28 December

The principle of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) teaches us that we must build the good and sustainable communities, societies and world we all want, and that we deserve to live in and leave to those after us. As Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune taught us, that “We must remake the world. The task is nothing less than that.” This means engaging and solving the major problems of the world, including poverty, famine and food insecurity, housing, environmental degradation, economic security, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, education, racism, sexism, corporate plunder, war, occupation, crime and the criminal injustice system.

Ujamaa poster RGBUjamaa – Cooperative Economics

29 December

Ujamaa reaffirms the ethics of the harvest, shared work and shared wealth. Thus, it is opposed to inequitable distribution of wealth, as well as resource monopoly and plunder by the rich and powerful. And it teaches us to privilege the poor and vulnerable and to uphold the right of all peoples to live lives of freedom, dignity, well-being and ongoing development. Ujamaa also urges us to give rightful recognition and support to the small farmers and farm workers of the world for the vital role they play in feeding and sustaining people and the planet, especially in the context of the globalization of agriculture and its destructive effects on the lives and lands of the people.

nia-cover3[1]Nia – Purpose

30 December

The principle of Nia (Purpose) teaches us to embrace and respond creatively to the collective vocation of restoring to our people the position and possibilities of great achievements through doing good in the world. For the sacred teaching of our ancestors in the Husia say that “the wise are known by their wisdom, and the great are k nown by their good deeds.” And in the Odu Ifa, they tell us that we “humans are divinely chosen to bring good in the world,” and this is the fundamental mission and meaning in human life.

Kuumba-principal[1]Kuumba – Creativity

31 December

The principle of Kuumba (Creativity) teaches us the moral obligation “to do always as much as we can in the way we can in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.” Thus, we must practice serudj ta, constantly repair and remake the world, a Maatian concept with ethical and aesthetic, as well as natural and social implications, and which expansively means to repair the damaged, raise up the ruined, replenish the depleted, rejoin the severed, strengthen the weakened, set right the wrong, and make flourish the fragile and undeveloped.

faith1[1]Imani – Faith

01 January

Finally, the principle of Imani (Faith) teaches and urges us to hold fast to the faith of our ancestors. It reassures us that through cooperative work and struggle, the famine and food insecurity in Somalia, the Horn of Africa, and the rest of the world, can be ended; that the human-caused catastrophe of Katrina will not occur again; that the fields and forests of Haiti will blossom, grow abundant grain and fruit again; and that every other plundered, polluted and depleted place will do likewise. And it is a faith that assures us we can truly transform ourselves and the world, and ensure clean air, pure water, safe and nutritious food for everyone, and a free, just, secure, dignity affirming and flourishing life and future for all the world.



kwanzaa-7-P[1]01 January

The Day of Meditation

The last day of Kwanzaa is the first day of the new year, 1 January. Historically, this has been for African people a time of sober assessment of things done and things to do, of self-reflection and reflection on the life and future of the people, and of recommitment to their highest cultural values in a special way.   Following in this tradition, it is for us, then, a time to ask and answer soberly and humbly the three Kawaida questions:

Who am I?

Am I really who I say I am?

Am I all I ought to be? 

And it is, of necessity, a time to recommit ourselves to our highest ideals, in a word, to the best of what it means to be both African and human in the fullest sense.  Read more here

The Odu Ifa Meditation Let us not engage the world hurriedly.

Let us not grasp at the rope of wealth impatiently.

That which should be treated with mature judgment,

let us not deal with in a state of anger.

When we arrive at a cool place,

let us rest fully;

Let us give continuous attention to the future;

and let us give deep consideration to the consequences of things.

And this because of our (eventual) passing.

K’a má fi kánjú j’aiyé.

K’a má fi wàrà-wàrà n’okùn orò

Ohun à bâ if s’àgbà,

K’a má if se’binu.

Bi a bá de’bi t’o tútù,

K’a simi-simi,

K’a wò’wajú ojo lo titi;

K’a tun bò wá r’èhìn oràn wo;

Nitori àti sùn ara eni ni.


(The Libation Statement)

Our fathers and mothers came here, lived, loved, struggled and built here.
At this place, their love and labor rose like the sun and gave strength and meaning to the day.
For them, then, who gave so much, we give in return.
On this same soil, we will sow our seeds, and liberation, and a higher level of human life.
May our eyes be the eagle,
our strength be the elephant,
and the boldness of our life be like the lion.
And may we remember and honor our ancestors and the legacy they left for as long as the sun shines and the waters flow.

For our people everywhere then:
For Shaka, Samory, and Nzingha and all the others known and unknown who defended our ancestral land, history and humanity from alien invaders;

For Garvey, Muhammad, Malcolm, and King; Harriet, Fannie Lou, Sojourner, Bethune, and Nat Turner and all the others who dared to define, defend, and develop our interests as a people;

For our children and the fuller and freer lives they will live because we struggled;

For Kawaida and the Nguzo Saba, the new system of views and values which gives identity, purpose, and direction to our lives;

For the new world we struggle to build;

And for the continuing struggle through which we will inevitably rescue and reconstruct our history and humanity in our own image and according to our own needs.

– Dr. Maulana Karenga

Coordinators: Gemma Burns & Elisa Vega-Burns

Coordinators: Gemma Burns & Elisa Vega-Burns

(From Resurrection MCC, Houston Texas, USA)

(The Libation Statement)
(The Calling of Names of Family Ancestors)
Procession of the Nguzo Saba Presenters

(The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa)

UMOJA (Unity)

KUJICHAGULIA (Self-determination)

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility)

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics)

NIA (Purpose)

KUUMBA (Creativity)

IMANI (Faith)

ANTHEM – Left Ev’ry Voice and Sing

(A Celebration With Food Usually Follows)



We are excited to be able to offer several payment options for the MCC Conference for People of African Descent, Our Friends and Allies Registration. Early registration pricing is lower; we encourage participants to reduce their total conference costs by taking advantage of the early registration options.



Remembering the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

by Vickie M Oliver-Lawson

First fruits is what the name Kwanzaa means

It’s celebrated everywhere by kings and queens

Based on seven principles that still exist

If you check out this rhyme, you’ll get the gist

Umoja, a Swahili name for unity

Is the goal we strive for across this country

Kujichagulia means self-determination

We define ourselves, a strong creation.

Ujima or collective work and responsibility

Is how we build and maintain our own community

For if my people have a problem, then so do I

So let’s work through it together with our heads held high.

Ujamaa meaning cooperative economics is nothing new

We support and run our own stores and other businesses, too.

Nia is purpose, us developing our potential

As we build our community strong to the nth exponential;

Kuumba is the creative force which lies within our call

As we leave our community much better for all;

As a people, let’s move forward by extending our hand

For Imani is the faith to believe that we can;

These seven principles help to make our nation strong

If you live to these ideals, you can’t go wrong

But you must first determine your own mentality

And believe in yourself as you want you to be

And no matter how far, work hard to reach your goal

As we stand, as a people, heads up, fearless and bold.