Resources To Subvert Columbus Day

It’s hard to believe that in 2018, we’re still debating the idea of Columbus Day. (A holiday we didn’t start observing until recently.) But we are and I’m committed to remembering a different narrative as we raise our girls. I had the honor of talking with Kaitlin Curtice over at SheLoves Magazine today about ways we can create family habits that change this story. I hope you’ll head over to SheLoves to join the conversation!

annie-rim-indigenous-resources-5Columbus Day is today in the United States and Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Frank and I were wondering how we could honor these days as a family. What can we tangibly do to recognize our role in the injustices of the past and how can we thoughtfully move forward in the work of restoration?

Even though our school district doesn’t observe Columbus Day as a holiday, I want to be aware of its recent reach in our society. (And, many areas still do celebrate it.) If anything, it reminds me to start thinking about Native American Heritage Month in November and all I can do to start preparing for that. (I did suggest skipping Thanksgiving altogether this year and this was quickly vetoed by Frank. So, we’ll still have pie, but we may also take a few moments of silence for all the massacres that surrounded those early thanksgiving feasts.)

I talked with Kaitlin Curtice about her practices around these particular holidays. Kaitlin is from the Potawatomi Nation and has written this month’s Red Couch selection, Glory Happening: Finding the Divine in Everyday Places. (Read our interview with her last fall here.) She offered some suggestions for those looking to move into these days with intentionality. Head over to SheLoves to hear 3 ways Kaitlin suggests supporting Indigenous Culture.

How do you teach your children about these tricky holidays? 


Two Books to Read for World Refugee Day

For as long as human history has been recorded, we have known about refugees. The Abrahamic faiths are built on an idea of fleeing and finding homes in new countries. But just because something has been happening for millennia doesn’t mean we can’t actively be trying to love our neighbors and find better solutions to an unsafe world.

Lists, resources, and petitions abound for current refugee situations. If you want to do something that helps immediately, I suggest you find an organization you trust and respect to see how you and your family can best partner with their efforts.

But if you’re looking for a slower understanding about America’s history of immigration, I wanted to suggest one of the most impacting books I’ve read on the Christian response to modern immigration.

41L1Pnj4JgL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang was published in 2009 but remains pertinent, nearly a decade later. Soerens and Yang work for World Relief, an aid organization whose goal is to empower refugees and the countries they come from.  The book is a combination of stories and statistics and the writing is engaging. If nothing else, Soerens and Yang helped me confront my own ignorance about the history of immigration and how America has actually treated refugees, especially in the last hundred years. (I wrote a more detailed essay about Welcoming the Stranger over at SheLoves last year.)

51sOre9OlEL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_If you’d rather read a fiction book that makes you think, I just finished Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. Published last year, this timely novel follows two women: Soli, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and Kavya, an Indian-American struggling with infertility. Their paths cross when Soli is put into an immigration detention center and her son is put in Kavya’s foster care. There are a couple plot leaps but overall, this book humanizes the families who are impacted by immigration policy. I also appreciated that this was written and published well before the current practices. It’s a reminder that we have a very broken system in dealing with those who cross the border without documentation.

If you need a place to start looking for resources, I thought I’d list a few places to start. There are many organizations doing really good work, so I’d recommend finding one you feel comfortable giving to and trusting with your resources.

The Justice Conference, World Relief, and We Welcome Refugees created this fact sheet that gives a quick overview of the “zero tolerance” policies. Check out their websites for what they do and how you can get involved.


Again, I trust you are able to research and find an organization that best aligns with your own beliefs. But I’d encourage everyone to read more deeply than Twitter or the News. On this day, as we remember refugees from around the world, I hope we all take the time to dig a little deeper into these very complex issues.

What resources have helped you understand the refugee crisis over the years? How do you stay informed? Any favorite organizations you support?

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

Increasing Awareness of Justice Issues

Even though I’ve always been someone who is aware of justice issues, I’ve become much more intentional and aware in the past couple years. Since I rarely just jump into anything, I started this journey by reading more books, articles, and experts in the field of justice work. I wanted to share a few of my favorite resources with you to help on this path of becoming more aware.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This book is cited again and again as a life-changing resource, and for good reason. I think most people have some sort of vague idea that our prisons are overcrowded, that we need reform, and that the inmate population is racially skewed. But why? How did we get here? What are the actual statistics?

Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. He has spent his career providing legal services to those who cannot afford quality lawyers, specifically for inmates on death row.

Just Mercy is an important book, and I’d highly recommend reading it. But I’d also recommend following the Equal Justice Initiative for a view of statistics and cases of racial injustice happening today.

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour
There are a couple books that helped shape my perspective on the complexity of the Israel-Palestine conflict but as a Christian, Blood Brothers was most significant. Elias Chacour is a Palestinian Christian from Nazareth. His family has been Christ-followers since, well… Jesus was their neighbor.

Chacour became Archbishop of the Galilee region and spent his life working toward conversation and peace between Israeli and Palestinian neighbors. His book was an eye-opening memoir about the layers and layers of conflict in this region. There is no easy answer toward peace, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth working toward.

On My Nightstand…
There are so many books and so little time… I wanted to share three books that are on my to-read pile, in case one looks like a good fit for you.

Mending the Divides by Jon Huckins and Jer Swigart
Written by the founders of the Global Immersion Project, this book looks at peacemaking in a world where conflict, hate, and injustice thrive. What do we do next?

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
This book comes highly recommended. Written by theologian James Cone, it looks at two powerful and charged symbols of American Black history.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Legal scholar Michelle Alexandar looks at the incarceration rates of African American men and argues that the prison system as it runs today is the contemporary replacement of the Jim Crow laws of the 1960’s.

What books and resources have impacted your journey toward a better understanding of justice? Have you read any of these?

BackyardThis post is Day 14 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.