Monday, April 14, 2008

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu In Town: Photo Documentation!

"This gives me hope for the future."

These were Anita Trutwin's opening words in an email to me this morning, following our encounter over the weekend in the auditorium of Minneapolis North High School. We saw Archbishop Desmond Tutu address a crowd of almost 7oo youth in the Peace Jam event, and it buoyed our spirits. Inspired our hearts.

I hadn't seen Anita in about a year, when she pulled up behind me and parked outside the high school. Anita is a former North Side Anne Sullivan teacher who I met at the Church of St. Philips -- just across the street from her former school at 26th and Bryant. What a treat to walk in together and see the bus loads of mostly youth coming to take part in this revolutionary event.

Anita shared in her email an exchange with her three year old son from that day, that gave the Archbishop's visit all the more weight, hope, significance.

Josh, Anita's husband, asked their son Ben,
"What is the meaning of life?" (They like to pose deep questions to the child from time to time, "just to hear what will come out of his mouth.")

On this day, "Ben said, 'monsters.'"

Anita goes on in the email:
"I asked him what is one thing we could do to make the
world a better place. Ben thought for a moment, and said 'trenches.'"

"If I would have missed Desmond Tutu's speech on Saturday," Anita wrote, "I think I'd be building a bunker right about now."

I'm with Anita on this. I'm even with Ben a lot of the time: Monsters lurk in this world, I long for trenches, digging in deep, protecting myself.

But the Archbishop reminds us of why warfare and vilifying those who seem to do us wrong - get us no where. His constant modeling of joy, love, optimism, faith, in the face of the darkness, in the face of evil in the world, is truly inspiring. As he repeated Friday night, over and over and over again, (as only this South African Archbishop with spunk can really do):
"Jesus holds it ALL! Jesus holds us ALL! ...ALL!....George Bush! .....ALL! Osama bid Laden! .....ALL! ....Gay and Lesbian and so-called straight people.....All!" "

Whether you believe in Jesus or not, on Friday night when Tutu uttered these words before the Convention Center crowd, there was a standing ovation. On Saturday, again, students got to their feet and exploded with joyful applause at his message. For me, this signifies a kind of belief in the heart and message of what this guy stands for, and inspires us all to act on: Love! Peace! Yes!

Enjoy the pictures below.


Metropolitan State University and Peace Jam Present:
Desmond Tutu.

Convention Center Crowd

Some of my peeps:
Antoinette Bennaars, Sr. Karen, Fr. Carl (Retired Maryknoll Missionary from Africa); Sr. Mary Frances, Sr. Mary Margaret, Brian Mogren, Sr. Katherine

Representative Keith Ellison is in the crowd

A Peace Jam Video Precedes his Entrance

The Audience gets to its feet to Welcome the "Arch"

Gesturing to signify those arms that "Hold it ALL!"

The exuberance that inspires us all...

Another final standing ovation

Saturday afternoon's ensemble:
Brian Mogren, Brother John, Me, Scott Mogren

Bus loads of youth filing in...

Youthrive's Peace Production crew

North High Student Senior "Bucky" starts the welcome with Principal Stewart

Naomi Tutu introduces her father...with words engaging youth in their thinking about their own relationship to their parents...

The Youth Welcome Him!

Archbishop Tutu first taking the North High Podium...

Lots of documentation is happening...

The "Arch" takes questions...

First student to ask a question...

One of Tutu's glorious expressions...

Another student question

Another expression...

He's frustrated he can't hear...

"Speak up!" Archbishop Tutu is EMPHATIC about student's using their voices!

A query in a louder voice


Yes! More Joy....

A Final Standing Ovation, before Archbishop Tutu departs for Red Wing, and the youth correctional facility....



Anonymous said...

HEY Melissa, O My G, i was so excited to go see Bishop TuTu, because we talked about at school(Totino Grace). So i was like really EXCITED!! but then it snowed bad, and itgot really hard trying to get transporation :( but im glad you had a good time. thanks love ya, talk 2 ya' lata!!

Amy Baione said...

Wow! What an opportunity for the kids. I am totally with you (and your friend and her son) about the monsters and trenches thing. But the act of digging out protection and isolation for ourselves is one of those age-old impulses that gets us humans into such trouble (as individuals and en masse). Instead of digging trenches we need to meditate and actualize peaceful plains for all to stand on.

Much love,