October 17 – Texas Journey in Houston!
There were no less than 9 events for Texas Journey of Hope that Sunday in Houston! Our speakers were sent in all directions to raise awareness and speak against the death penalty in Texas. In the evening, our Journey troubadours Charlie King and Karen Brandow offered their talent at a fundraiser concert for Journey of Hope…From Violence to Healing and KPFT.
In the morning, I had the pleasure of introducing both our organization and our guest speakers, Sandrine Ageorges-Skinner and Ron Carlson, at Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. Sitting in circle, a group of adults and teenagers listened to Sandrine and Ron speak then everyone joined the conversation.
What promptly came up was the issue of violence in our society and how state-sanctioned executions give the wrong example to people by endorsing killing. Teenagers attending the meeting mentioned violent video games and guns in the United States and how it might have an impact on some people and open the door to more crimes. I have seen Internet cafes full of teenagers playing war games against one another. I have seen my younger brother spend hours on his video game. The goal is to kill as many enemies while remaining alive. In this particular game, the player automatically is on the “good” side (uniforms, weapons and names all clearly indicate that the “good” ones are American soldiers) whereas the “bad” ones seem to be from the Middle East (the insignia looks like the Iranian coat of arms…). As long as we teach that violence is acceptable, we will never solve the problem (or the disease, as Rick Halperin calls it). But does the high crime rate in the US only come from the use of violent video games and from the second amendment that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms?
This event allowed me to discover the Bering Support Network and the incredible work they do for homeless youth, HIV/AIDS and GLBTQ issues. The Bering Support Network began in 1986 with what is now one of the longest running HIV/AIDS support groups in the country. I was so glad not only to see teenagers attend our event, but also to know that these youth may benefit from this caring and nurturing environment. This surely is an effective way to protect them and keep them away from potentially dangerous drug-related and violent situations. Thank you Constance and everyone involved! If you would like more information on BSN and support their work, please check the bottom of this post.
The evening allowed everyone on the Texas Journey to attend a fundraiser concert by Charlie King and Karen Brandow. I have never seen such an enthusiastic audience! Let me just tell you that when everyone in the room starts singing along, not at the end of the concert but right from the very beginning, you know you are in for a great evening! Charlie and Karen perpetuate the long tradition of activists singers that has been so well personified by Joan Baez. As one of their lyrics stated: Songs of Peace were sung, not only as regards the death penalty, but on a wide range of topics from environment to DADT. If you don’t know Charlie and Karen yet, have a look at their website and treat yourself to their latest CD. The new one is coming out soon!
Journey of Hope…from Violence to Healing board member & Secretary