Little Lights Urban Ministries

2008 Spring Newsletter

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Little Lights Times To fully accept the acceptance of God and to spread love to those perishing without it. Volume 8, Issue 2 In this Issue Letter from Steve • Letter from Steve • Learning Keyboard • Student, Program, and Event Highlights • Literacy Through Photography • Volunteer Stories • Supporters Update • "What Little Lights Means to Me" • Meet the Staff and Teen Interns • Kite Poems Mark Your Calendars May 21: Last Day of Spring Programs May 22: Volunteer Appreciation Dinner June 9-20: Camp Heaven training June 21: Talent Show, 6-8 p.m. Mt. Joy Baptist Church June 23-Aug 8: Camp Heaven September 13: Fundraising Banquet and Silent Auction Johnae gets ready to use the computer during Homework Club at the Hope Center. She also participates in Reading and Math Heroes, Girls' Night, and the Little Lights' Gospel Choir. Johnae, age 10, sat at the table with her friend Shaquanda working on her arts and crafts during Homework Club. I had been reading a bit about the primary election recently and so I asked Johnae what her opinion was about Barack Obama. "I like him," she said. "Would you vote for him if you could?" I asked back. "Yes," she replied. Then with her eyes growing big, she blurted, "But, if he becomes President, he better hide in the White House." "Why is that?" I ask back. "Because, he's gonna get shot," she stated, voice getting a little louder, almost frustrated at what she feels is stating the obvious. The conversation revealed some of how Johnae views the society she lives in. In the midst of her hope for a candidate she likes, she is simultaneously fearful and scared for the consequences of being President and black. The echoes of shots in Memphis during the assassination of Martin Luther King still reverberate, especially in the African-American community. For Johnae, and probably many youth in the underserved urban neighborhoods, American society still represents both a place of great hope mixed with fear and insecurity. A place where there is opportunity, but potential rejection as well. Spring 2008 Before bed, I like to sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" to my own kids, Kayla and Dylan. The song ends like this, "…red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." I know that as Korean-Americans my own kids will experience some rejection, discrimination, and perhaps ridicule for their physical appearance (in almost any non-Asian context, white or black or otherwise). We live in a racialized society. Our physical appearance and our race are often the first things we notice about others, and it often affects how we treat and are treated by others. This is why I need to teach my own kids and the kids and youth at Little Lights to find their love, acceptance, and security first in God's embrace and not from opinions of people. People are fickle, moody, and biased. People are terribly imperfect sources of love. Simply, human beings are sinners in need of mercy, because we cannot obey the great command of "loving our neighbor as ourselves." I need to teach my kids to see the world more closely as God sees it and value every human being, no matter how different they seem to be or how many issues they disagree on. I continued on page 6...

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