This semester at the Graduate Theological Union‘s Berkeley School of Theology, I am taking three classes as part of my Doctor of Ministry studies. They are: “The Qur’an: Origin, Application, Interpretations” (Dr. Majabeen Dhala, Center for Islamic Studies), “Introduction to Prison Ministry” (Father George Williams, Jesuit School of Theology), and “Examining the Case for Reparations for African Americans” (Dr. Ronald Burris & Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, BST).
I just gave my first presentation in Dr. Dhala’s class, called “Joseph – Yusuf.” In this presentation, I considered the story of the patriarch / prophet Joseph – Yusuf as presented in the Torah / Hebrew Bible and in the Qur’an, in the context of my ministry as a jail chaplain. The class and I had a good discussion!
You can see the whole presentation here. See the last pages of my presentation for where I found the images and other sources.
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home).
“The Problem: As part of changing a life path that repeatedly ends in Santa Clara County jail, many inmates want to learn about and develop their faith and theology but lack resource access and the reading capability or education to move forward. Inmates who are Spanish language speakers, have reading difficulties, and those with mental health challenges are at a particular disadvantage and are often isolated and disempowered. America’s punishment-based, racist and classist carceral system, and the constant population churn inside jails, militate against empowering inmates’s spiritual well-being, success, and change of life. Tailoring educational and faith programs to particularly disadvantaged inmates may help to reduce long-term recidivism.
The Purpose: To support the most invisible of the largely-unseen and severely marginalized population of jail prisoners in Santa Clara County, this project revises existing Bible study and theological reflection program materials to support inmates in three particularly-underserved and vulnerable groups: those whose primary language is Spanish, and/or have mental health challenges, and/or have reading comprehension difficulties. Making materials more accessible may help to encourage their faith walk, sustain their difficult journey, and discourage recidivism after release.”
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Images Copyright 2022 by Katy Dickinson, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and Paul D. Goodman.
“In How to Fight Racism, Jemar Tisby writes, “White supremacy is the belief or assumption that white people and their culture are inherently superior to other people and cultures.” I said in our class discussion of Tisby that understanding white supremacy and its associated racism in the United States is incomplete without also considering class and classism. In this paper, I expand my argument that class is a key factor in racism to include why people of color are imprisoned disproportionally. In support of this, I consider historical, literary, and academic sources as well as my personal experience as a jail chaplain in Santa Clara County.
In researching this topic, I found that race and class were conflated in most analyses, and that usually only race was addressed. Sometimes it seemed as though class and classism were invisible. For example, historian Tyler Stovall, whom I quote on race and class below, has racism in his Index but not class or classism, even though both are extensively discussed. Publications where race and class were considered individually came from many academic disciplines, including anthropology, economics, education, history, sociology and literary analysis. I begin with definitions of class and race.”
“In this paper, I begin the discussion of my Doctor of Ministry project and dissertation for the Berkeley School of Theology. In the first section, I present the problem of creating a theological study program for use in jail and my vision for its solution. The second section considers my theological basis, including three inspiring scriptures that have influenced my thinking. These are followed by a summary and conclusion. My theological basis and the proposed project and dissertation are informed by my experience as a Santa Clara County, California, jail chaplain since 2015.” The three Bible scriptures are Matthew 25:31-46, Genesis 39-41, and Acts 16:22-40. Read the whole paper here.
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Images Copyright 2019 by Katy Dickinson.
Some key dates from my introduction: 1804 Jacquard loom, 1837 Babbage Analytical Engine (programming by Ada Lovelace), 1884 Hollerith punched card tabulating machine (used in 1890 U.S. Census). Punch cards and paper tape continued in use until the 1990s.
Gisele and Janet will lead the students through an exercise using the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch program. Gisele wrote this about the exercise: “To control a system, or automate its operation, we use the variables which can be random or fixed depending on the type of sensors, we apply the conditions. Loops are uses to do the same thing infinitely. These concepts are the basics of physical computing.” This is their handout.
Here is our 17 June 2021 session plan:
10 minutes – Introduction to Physical Computing (Katy Dickinson & Maryann Hrichak) on Zoom, including Arduino weaving video segment
25 minutes – Scratch activity in two Zoom breakout rooms with about 50 students each, one in Douala (lead by Gisele), and the other in Yaoundé (lead by Janet), with ten TechWomen mentors helping
5 minutes – Reflection (Katy Dickinson & Maryann Hrichak) on Zoom, including Knightscope robots video
Thanks to Jeannice Farrer Samani, Janet Bih Shufor, and others for their recommendations on materials below. During our TechWomen-Cameroon Physical Computing session, I knew many of the girls might have network connection problems or would not fully understand the Zoom-based presentations because we spoke in English and many of them are French speakers. I want the “References and Resources” to present inspiring materials they could read later. I selected physical computing examples focused on weaving and robotics and included women and girl role models not only from Cameroon and Africa but also from the U.S. I hope that the girls will find these materials helpful!
On Sunday, a group of family and friends gathered to remember Daniel Vega Martinez (1969-2021). Daniel or “Big O” was a beloved member of our Stepping Stones reentry community, and had been in my class at Elmwood county jail. The Rev. Peggy Bryan, who leads the Stepping Stones community with Jack Fanning, wrote this tribute and account of Daniel’s death.
“Sadly, we said goodbye yesterday to Daniel Martinez, one of the first men I met at Elmwood and who, in reentry, was my teacher about the authentic challenges faced by living on the streets. Daniel was handed a tough life and the demons of addiction and shame finally tracked him down. Sunday he was found in flames in the cab of the truck he was living in. He was transported to VMC’s Burn Unit but his injuries were deemed unsurvivable so yesterday I offered final prayers as his wife, children and sisters circled him with love…Expressions of condolences and love are pouring in from those incarcerated and those outside who knew, loved and respect Daniel, ‘Big O’, as a man of God and a real St. Paul when leading behind bars, in prison or jail. The cause of the fire is unknown—accident, suicide, homicide…Please keep everyone in your prayers, those who call him father, brother, husband, mentor, friend and teacher are spread far and wide. As plans for a service are known, I’ll let you know. My heart is broken, this has been beyond brutal, but it helps knowing Daniel finally rests In God’s perfect peace.”
Fifty of Daniel’s friends and family got together in the San Jose parking lot to honor his life and lay flowers at the burn site where he was fatally injured.
Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him
30 May 2021 Update: Daniel’s Memorial Service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right on Katysblog home). Images Copyright 2016-2021 by Peggy Bryan.