Today is my sister’s birthday. It’s also Harry Potter’s birthday, and J.K.Rowling’s birthday. The Goodreads quote that came through my email this morning was a quote by J.K.Rowling: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” What a perfect quote for my sister’s birthday! She is probably the most resourceful person I know, and she is constantly directing her power toward the transformation of our world, through her writing and public speaking. Her particular passion? Healing racism. Her book,TALKING ABOUT RACE: A WORKBOOK FOR WHITE PEOPLE FOSTERING RACIAL EQUALITY IN THEIR LIVES (www.ltar.biz) is a very personal invitation to what she calls “work the racial equality muscle.” It’s also a very structured map for doing so. She knows what she’s talking about. She married an African American man and has two biracial children, so even though her book is not a memoir – it really is a workbook – she does share a few relevant stories from her personal life in it. And her speaking? She has spoken in several contexts; the most recent was as a Plenary Speaker for this year’s National Organization of Women, where she addressed the topic of white privilege. There is nothing magic about any of it. It’s all personal; it’s all compassionate; it’s all hard work; and it all entails a deep level of commitment.
When my sister was a little girl, she was inclined to navigate toward the most needy around her – be that person or animal. Our grandmother used to smile and say that she would probably grow up to be a Maryknoll Missionary. The mission of Maryknoll sisters ( http://www.maryknollsisters.org ) is to help others find a fuller sense of life, by fulfilling both human rights and spiritual needs… I do think that my sister is, essentially, a missionary, so I have one more thing to say: Happy Birthday, Sister!