Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Norbertine Father Speaks on Laudato Si

This video was taken at "Protecting Our Common Home," an interfaith discussion on how to put Laudato Si, Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment, into action.  Norbertine Father Bob Campbell offered a great reflection.  (Apologies for the less-than-optimum quality of the video, taken with a handheld camera and no tripod.  Also, the video shows only seven minutes of the 10-minute reflection).   

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sister Simone Campbell Urges us to Engage in Holy Curiousity and Sacred Gossip

"Faith calls us in the Christian tradition to carry Jesus into the marketplace, to ask the questions Jesus would ask now,” Campbell said. “We the people have got to have holy curiosity and sacred gossip so that we create a groundswell of claiming the communal reality that we’re in this together.”

Holy curiosity that makes us ask people those very improper questions like when you’re in a restaurant and you speak to your waiter and you say, are you 8 making more than minimum wage, or do yo u depend upon tips to get by? When you’re in a dress shop or a grocery store, are you all unionized here, do you have good wages? And what I’ve discovered is often, the answer is no. No, they don’t. How do we get justice if our focus is getting the cheapest possible price, or the most possible stuff? How do we do justice in our lives? That’s the holy curiosity we have to ask, where we have to ask the question, is justice happening here? Can we make a difference? But then, the best part, my favorite part is then, we’ve got a right to sacred gossip, sacred gossip where I can tell you, do you know?

“I always joked that the miracle of loaves and fish was sharing. The women always knew this. But in this moment of need and notoriety, I ache, tremble, almost weep at folks so hungry, malnourished, faced with spiritual famine of epic proportions, my heart aches with their need. Apostle - like, I whine. What are we among so many? The consistent 2,000 year - old ever - new response is this ... Blessed and broken, you are enough. I savor the blessed , cower at the broken, and pray to be enough.”

Sister Simone Campbell
excerpts from keynote address to Episcopal City Mission Annual Dinner, June 2015, and comments in ECM Awards Dinner

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Immaculate Conception Church in Albuquerque to Offer 'Church of Second Chances' Program this Fall

Photo: JustFaith Ministries
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Albuquerque is one of dozens of faith communities around the country that will participate in one of three JustMatters modules that JustFaith Ministries is offering this fall. The modules encourage small groups to explore critical current issues within the context of the Gospels and the life and example of Jesus. "In a world that is too quick to encourage rhetoric that divides us from one another, these experiences cultivate genuine dialogue, contemplative prayer, and community," said JustFaith.

Immaculate Conception will offer an eight-week session around the Church of Second Chances module, which shares the stories of incarcerated people and exposes injustices in the judicial system through the lens of faith. This module hopes to inspire a prophetic revision of incarceration that invites restoration, mercy and reconciliation.

This newly revised eight-session version of JustFaith's Prison Reform module represents greater diversity in the voices of those behind bars, includes updated video resources, encourages deeper dialogue, and incorporates Pope Francis’ message of mercy.

The eight-week session will be held  each Thursday evening at Immaculate Conception, 619 Copper NW (map) in downtown Albuquerque, September 24 through November 12, 2015,  in the Guadalupe Room.  For more information or to register, please call or email Joy Dinaro in the church office.(505) 247 – 4271 ext. 3034  jdinaro@iccabq.org

In addition to the module on prison reform, JustFaith Ministries offers the Crossing Borders program (immigration) and The Sultan and the Saint (Muslim-Christian relationships) this fall (More details here), but no churches in the Albuquerque area are offering these two programs. Other programs on the environment, solidarity and peacemaking are currently available but have not been recently revised and are not supported by JustFaith staff this fall.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Oxfam Volunteers Continue Advocacy on Food Aid Reform

Amanda Dezan (left) and Kathy Chavez (right) meet with Bill Woldman at Sen. Udall's Albuquerque office
A number of organizations continue efforts to urge Congress to reform our food-aid policies.  This was the centerpiece of Bread for the World's Offering of Letters in 2014. While we continued this advocacy effort in 2015, the main focus of our letters this year has been on reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act.  However,  food aid reform remains at the top of the agenda for some of our partners, including Oxfam America. Food-aid reform was one of the main asks Oxfam Action Corps volunteers visited Capitol Hill in April

Kathy Chavez, Amanda Dezan and Juliana Bilowich, volunteers from New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps, followed up on those visits with local meetings in August with the staffs of Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich to ask our senators to cosponsor the Food for Peace program.  "What the Food For Peace Reform initiative, which asks is that we allow for the money be spent how it is needed," said Chavez, one of four national peer advisors Oxfam Action Corps.  "On food from local farmers or neighboring countries for example, or if they have food and need money we can give them money. Right now only 42 cents per dollar actually is spent on food."

The New Mexico Oxfam Action Corps volunteers found a receptive ear in Bill Woldman, a long-time aide to Sen. Udall in Albuquerque, and in Ane Romero, a field representative for Sen. Heinrich locally.  Both promised to pass on the cosponsorship request to the New Mexico senators.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

End Hunger in New Mexico Summit Around the Corner

The Second Annual End Hunger in New Mexico summit is only a little more than a month away (September 23-24).  If you haven't registered, here is the link. The registration fee is $20, and participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to Desert Harvest, which will distributed it to 17 organizations in need of food.

The summit features many interesting workshops, including  Faith In Action: An Introduction to the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, led by Ellen Buelow, a member of the steering committee of the IHC.

Here is a description. "Our interactive workshop introduces participants to the vision and activities of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition focused in three areas; education, advocacy and direct action. Here’s an opportunity for faith communities to collaborate in a common place. Explore how you and your organization can join forces without duplication of services."

Some of our friends and collaborators are also leading thought-provoking and informational workshops, including SNAP and Work Supports (Louise Pocock, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty); How Our Food System is Harming Hungry People (Alicia Edwards, Volunteer Center of Grant County); Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization: Strengthening the Safety Net (Patty Keane, MS, RD, Nutrition Scientist, UNM Prevention Research Center/New Mexico); Community Bulk Buying Program (Janet Page-Reeves, Research Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico); Food Insecurity’s Impact on Education (Patrick Scott and Jeff Berg, APS Title I Homeless Project, Homeless Liaison staff, and Sandra Kemp, Executive Director, APS Food & Nutrition Services); and Reaching Food Neutrality in your Community by Increasing Capacity (Sherry Hooper, Executive Director of the Food Depot, and Julie Anderson, Food Rescue Manager at Roadrunner Food Bank)     See full list of workshops.

Nancy Pope, another member of the steering committee of the Interfaith Hunger Coalition, will be one of the keynote speakers during the luncheon on Wednesday. Sherry Hooper, executive director of The Food Depot in Santa Fe, and Archbishop John Wester of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe, will also present remarks at the luncheon.

For more information about the summit, visit the official site.

And here are some tidbits of information in the most recent poster promoting the summit:

DID YOU KNOW?
  • NM has the 2nd worst rates of poverty in the country - 1 in 5 people live below the poverty level
  • NM has the worst child hunger in the nation - 1 in 3 children do not have enough to eat
  • NM seniors are 2nd in the nation regarding food insecurity - last year over 30,000 seniors relied on food banks
  • Every day 40,000 New Mexicans seek food assistance - 40% are children
  • 67,795,200 - the number of additional meals needed every year to end hunger in NM

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A List of Double-Up Food Bucks Locations in Albuquerque and Valencia County


Thanks to an initiative approved by the State Legislature this year, New Mexicans who receive food stamps can use their EBT cards to double the amount of fruits and vegetables they purchase at growers markets. Here is a list, courtesy of the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, of locations in the Albuquerque area and Valencia County that offer the Double-Up Food Bucks option.
  • ABQ Uptown Growers’ Market 2200 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Albuquerque (Saturdays 7AM–12PM)
  • Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market Central and 8th, Robinson Park, Albuquerque (Saturdays 8AM–12PM)
  • Albuquerque Growers’ Market at Presbyterian 1100 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque (Tuesdays 7AM–12PM)
  • Albuquerque: Rail Yards Market 777 1st St. SW, Albuquerque (Sundays 10AM–2PM)
  • Belen Growers’ Market Anna Becker Park, Highway 309 & Reinken Avenue, Belen (Fridays 4:30–7PM)
  • Bosque Farms Growers’ Market 1090 North Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms (Saturdays 8AM–12PM)
  • Los Lunas Farmers’ Market 3447 Lambros Circle, Los Lunas (Tuesdays 4PM–7PM)
  • South Valley Armijo Village Growers’ Market Isleta Blvd. and Arenal Rd. SW, Albuquerque (Saturdays 8AM–12PM)
  • South Valley Gateway Growers’ Market 100 Isleta Blvd. SW, Albuquerque (Thursdays 5PM–8PM) 
  • Zia Bernalillo Farmers Market 335 S. Camino del Pueblo (Fridays 4pm-7pm)
Double-Up Food Bucks benefits are also available in Alamogordo, Aztec, Cuba, Carlsbad, Clovis, Dixon, Española, Farmington, Las Cruces, Las Vegas (Tri-County Farmers' Market), Lordsburg, Mescalero, Mora, Pojoaque, Portales, Ramah, Santa Fe, Silver City, Socorro, Truth or Consequences (Sierra County Farmers' Market), Taos and Tucumcari. Click Here to find specific information about each of these markets. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Reply from the Congresswoman

The children who attended Vacation Bible School at St. John XXIII Catholic Community in Albuquerque this summer wrote messages on paper plates urging Congress to end hunger and poverty in our country.  We distributed the 88 paper-plate messages as evenly as we could among Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. They were almost all great messages, and I don't recall which plates went to which of our legislators. What we know is that the messages touched Rep. Lujan Grisham, who sent a nice reply to the VBS children of our parish. (The children of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and All Saints Lutheran Church also sent paper-plate messages to Congress).

Here are some excerpts of Rep. Lujan Grisham's reply (with the full letter below)

Children of St. John XXIII Catholic Community:

"Thank you for taking time to make such beautiful personalized messages highlighting the poverty children face in our state and country," Lujan Grisham.  I want you to know that I take this issue seriously.

"Hungry children should not have to bear the burden of balancing our nation's budget."

"Thank you for writing to me -- your passion energizes my desire to eliminate poverty in our state. Together we can work to ensure that no child is left hungry." 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Growing (Not Throwing!) Tomatoes at the Ball Park

No garden (yet!) at Albuquerque Isotopes Park
"For those that only associate baseball farms with farm teams and think of baseball food as consisting of two food groups (hot dogs and beer, or peanuts and cracker jacks), the ballpark might seem like a strange breeding ground for hyper-local, sustainable urban agriculture."  -from article in Climate Progress

If you listen to a baseball broadcast in Spanish, you might hear the announcer refer to the outfield as the yard (jardín). The word  jardín in Spanish can also mean the garden (as in vegetable garden). There are actually a few instances where vegetable gardens are part of the game of baseball.  Five Major League Baseball parks have devoted land for vegetable gardens: Coors Field (Colorado Rockies), Petco Park (San Diego Padres), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) and AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants). The gardens are used to provide healthy ingredients for food at the ballpark and to provide a learning opportunity about gardening to young people. AT&T offers tours of its garden to youth.

Photo. Boston Red Sox
Two of the newest projects were launched this summer at Fenway Park in Boston and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Fenway Farms is a 5,000-square foot rooftop farm along a previously unused stretch of roof behind Gate A in Fenway Park. "The impetus for the farm came from Linda Pizzuti Henry, wife of Red Sox co-owner John Henry," " Natasha Geiling wrote in ClimateProgress, a project of the online site ThinkProgress. " Linda had long been interested in figuring out a way to bring a focus on sustainability and healthy eating to the ballpark, and in the summer of 2014, Linda serendipitously crossed paths with Green City Growers, a Boston-based company that had been awarded a Social Impact Prize from Henry’s foundation for its work in creating urban garden and farms."

Photo: Washington Nationals
In the nation's capital, the Washington Nationals transplanted 180 plants of  tomatoes, zucchini, squash and herbs in a rooftop garden this summer. The produce will initially be used for food preparation for meals served in sky boxes and other premium areas.  "Based on the success of it, we’d like to roll it out to other areas of the ballpark as well," Jonathan Stahl, the executive director of ballpark operations and guest experience, told  WTOP  The Washington Post's DC Sports Blog also wrote about this garden earlier this summer.

Photo: City Farmer News
Community gardens evolve from other small projects.  In San Diego, Luke Yoder, former  director of landscape maintenance at Petco, decided to team up with executive chef Will Todd to incorporate fresh produce into the menu at Padres home games. "Yoder has since expanded that idea, creating one of the coolest features in any ballpark -- gardens extending through both the home and visiting bullpens," said an article in Cut 4.  Yoder's garden has featured 18 varieties of hot chile peppers from 18 countries.  “The pitching coaches and players like to play with them and pop one every once in a while to get them going," Yoder told Sports Illustrated.

Photo: San Francisco Giants
Futher up the coast in California, the still relatively new AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, features a  large area spanning 4,320 square feet, appropriately dubbed the Garden. "In addition to produce, the Garden houses a bar, tables, benches, a fire pit, and two concession stands that serve food prominently featuring Garden-grown ingredients. Produce-wise, the Garden grows everything you’d expect to find in a backyard garden patch (lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini) and a few things you wouldn’t (passion fruit, lemongrass, hops). When it opened, Giants right fielder Hunter Pence — a self-proclaimed health nut — was on site to christen the Garden," said Baseball Park Digest. There is also a great article about this garden in Modern Farmer.

When the garden first opened at AT&T in 2004, the Giants tweeted that they had the first  “organic, edible garden" in Major League Baseball. Not so, said the daily newspaper in San Diego.  "The San Diego Padres are about to enter their third season with one," said The San Diego Union-Tribune. (Not to be outdone in San Francisco, the football franchise, the 49ers included a rooftop garden at their still-new Levi's Stadium)

Photo: Colorado Rockies
In the Rockies, Colorado State University Institute for the Built Environment has developed a 700-acre site dubbed the GaRden. As is the case with all the other parks, the GaRden was created to provide fresh produce to the concessionaires who serve food to the public. "The GaRden is on display for the 500,000 fans who pass through Gate A of the stadium each season. For the second year running, it has provided on-site vendors with fresh, hyper-local produce that is grown sustainably and with organic principles," said the CSU magazine Source "The sustainably produced and managed vegetables, herbs, flowering ornamentals and plants."

There are 25 other baseball teams in Major League Baseball, which means the potential for another 25 ballpark gardens in cities like Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. There is precedent in some of these cities: tomatoes, sunflowers and corn were grown in Shea Stadium, the former home of the New York Mets. The Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers at one time also grew produce in their bullpen areas, according to Smithsonian magazine. And the Baltimore Orioles grew tomatoes in foul territory in left field at their old Memorial Stadium home, said The Baltimore Sun in 2011.

Let's not limit ourselves to the Major League Teams.  Every team has at least five affiliates, which means opportunities for community gardens from Albuquerque and Nashville to Albany, N.Y.,  Durham, N.C., Spokane, Wa., Jupiter, Fla., Portland, Me., Dayton, Oh, Missoula, Mt., and dozens of other cities.

The gardens go beyond the promotion of healthy eating.  “These practices are an entryway to so many environmental issues, from water scarcity to agriculture and chemical impacts on our land,” Alice Henry told ClimateProgress.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Promoting the Use of Double-Up Food Bucks for Produce in New Mexico

The Sunday Railyards Market is a Double-up Food Bucks site
HB93 appropriated nearly $365,000 for families that receive support via the Supplemental Nutrition Food Assistance Program (SNAP). Farm to Table, the New Mexico Food and Agriculture Policy Council, the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico and other organizations strongly supported the initiative during the past legislative session. The measure gained broad support from both parties in the State Legislature.

This benefit is new this year, so chances are that many SNAP participants have not heard about this program that basically doubles the amount of money that can be used for fresh fruits and vegetables with food stamps via the 34 New Mexico Growers markets throughout the state.

 "It’s easy with Double Up Food Bucks! For example, if you spend $10 from your SNAP EBT Card at a participating farmers market, we give you another $10 to buy fresh fruits and veggies grown in New Mexico," said the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association (NMFMA) which benefits because SNAP participants would purchase locally grown produce. "If you spend $25 from your SNAP EBT Card, we give you another $25 for fresh New Mexico-grown fruits and vegetables. It’s that easy! Some farmers’ markets may have a limit for daily Double Up purchases, others may not. Check with the folks at your local farmers’ market information table to find out!

While this benefit is wonderful and offers a way for many families in New Mexico to gain access to fresh produce, there is a provision that unused funds would go back to the general fund. Most markets close at the end of  October, so about two-a-half months remain before this benefit runs. And really, the best time to use it is now, when tomatoes,squash, peaches, cucumbers and chiles and other good things are available. Apples will be available in September.

So how do we increase participation?  One way is to spread the word, and the NMFMA has a handy link  that enables SNAP participants and anyone who provides assistance to Find a Location by simply entering a zip code.

For more information and ideas on how to spread the word, check out the NMFMA's Double Up Food Bucks site.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Message of Pope Francis in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe

  “An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world...”  - Pope Francis

The organizers of the upcoming Parish Social Ministry Conference in Albuquerque pose the question How does your faith call you to change the world?

There is no single answer, but many options. They include:  Global solidarity...the new Encyclical Laudato Si...keeping your spiritual center...consistent ethic of life...using media and technology for social mission...engaging youth and young adults solidarity.. exploring Communities of Salt and Light...how to be a voice of the poor...immigration and migration..Catholic social teaching...how to form a social concerns committee...  

Those options represent the themes of some of the workshops that will be offered at the Parish Social Ministry Conference, entitled "Sowing Seeds of Love in Action," on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Community, 5415 Fortuna Rd. NW, Albuquerque (map), 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. A Mass will follow at 5:00 p.m. The conference, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Office of Social Justice and Respect Life and the Annual Catholic Appeal, will also feature national speakers from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and St. Vincent de Paul as well as local speakers.

Registration cost of $10 includes a light breakfast and lunch  Scholarships available  Register via email (justice3@archdiosf.org) or call 505-831-8205  (Online registration option will soon be available on the Web site of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe)
Please register by Monday, September 14

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Interfaith Discussion on Pope Francis' Encyclical on Climate Change

When Pope Francis issued Laudate Si, an encyclical on climate change, his intention was not just to present the position of  the Vatican on this important issue. The pontiff included a lot of food for thought in this document to encourage the broader faith community--not just Roman Catholics--to examine and discuss the consequences of human activity and its impact on the environment.

A group of faith communities in Albuquerque have accepted that challenge and put together a discussion on environmental stewardship, the economy and climate change. Participants will gain access to resources and creative ideas to use and share within their communities.

The event, entitled "Protecting Our Common Home," will be held on Saturday, August 29, from 9:00 a.m. until Noon, at Santa Maria de la Vid Norbertine Abbey, 5825 Coors Blvd. SW. (map). The sponsors are New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, the New Mexico Conference of Churches, the Ecumenical Institute for Ministry, the Norbertine Community, Catholic Charities, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe.  The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP to Sister Joan Brown, (joan@nm-ipl.org)  by Aug. 27.  This flier tells you more.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Herb & Flower Fiesta in Silver City next Weekend

The third annual Herb and Flower Fiesta is scheduled for this coming weekend in Silver City.  The event is a fundraiser for the local community radio GMCR.or/KURU 89.1 FM The Volunteer Center of Grant County will host the Friday events, including classes on using herbs for food and medicine, an herbal luncheon and a plant walk. The Saturday events will take place at the Silver City Farmers Market.  This poster has more details.


Saturday, August 08, 2015

Building a World Garden in Your Back (or Front) Yard

During a recent trip to Haiti, members of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, N.C., discovered that many families in the Caribbean country grow 40% of the food they consume in their home gardens using whatever resources are available to them. The Haiti gardens are supported by Famers Movement of Papaye (MPP), a grassroots organization of 20 farming cooperatives located throughout Haiti, and Mark Hare and Jenny, mission workers of the Presbyterian Church USA.

The trip inspired the members of the church to recreate this World Garden in their own front yards back home. In this video, the children of Grace Presbyterian Church explain how the World Garden works.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Kimberly Burge Reads Excerpts of 'The Born Frees' to a Packed House

Photo: Jennifer Coulter-Stapleton
 "I met Annasuena soon after I arrived in South Africa in January of 2010. I was to live there for a year as a Fulbright Scholar and lead a creative writing club for teenage girls at J. L. Zwane Presbyterian Church and Community Center in Gugulethu, a black township about ten miles outside Cape Town. She became one of the first members of the club, which we named Amazw’Entombi. In Xhosa, it means “Voices of the Girls.” Annasuena and all the other girls who joined Amazw’ Entombi were part of the Born Frees, the first generation of black South Africans born after apartheid and coming of age in a newly democratic nation, following the 1994 elections that made Nelson Mandela South Africa’s first black president."  excerpts from Chapter 1 of The Born Frees (published in the Salon website).
The Langston Room at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V Street in Washington, D.C., was filled to capacity. The audience of perhaps 100 people was comprised of friends of author Kimberly Burge and others who might have seen the listing in the bookstore's events schedule or in The Washington Post as as one of the "Top 5 Free Things  to do in Washington, D.C., during the week of Aug. 3-9." They were all here to join with Kimberly (and a group of young women in South Africa) in the launch of  the The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu.

Photo:Martha McLaughlin
The author read excerpts from her book to an attentive and entranced audience. Among those in the crowd was Bob Schminkey, a friend of Kimberly's who has taken several tour groups to South Africa. Schminkey found some familiarity in the narrative. "As Kimberly read from The Born Frees, I closed my eyes and was transported back to Cape Town and JL Zwane Church," said Schminkey, who like the author is a member of the extended Bread for the World community.

After the reading, a dialogue ensued between the author and the audience in a question-and-answer session. "The audience was wonderfully engaged, and really asked some probing questions about the sustainability of something like a writing club, how the girls thought about race in America (they don't much, but this experience has made ME think a lot more about it -- not to mention the last few years), and how writing the book has affected my life. Still figuring that one out," said Burge. 

The consensus among those in attendance at the Busboys and Poets event (and prominent book reviewers like Kirkus) is that this is a well-written and engaging work. (Busboys and Poets sold all its available copies that evening!)  "This is a wonderful book that will be my go-to intro book to South Africa from now on," said Schminkey.  "The book is a nice history of South Africa, woven through the stories of the girls of Gugulethu and the story of Kimberly herself."

Buy the Book
You can acquire the book from Kimberly Burge's website, from your independent bookstore or the publisher's site. The Born Frees is also available via one of your big box chain bookstores and a popular online merchant. (But we encourage you to patronize the independent bookstores).

"Incredible and inspiring, this account belongs in every library and on every bookshelf."

- Library Journal (starred review)


I'm sure you've seen the description of the book before, but perhaps your family and friends are not aware of this great work. So here is a paragraph to share with them.  "The young women of South Africa’s first post-apartheid generation are coming of age amid myriad challenges, including AIDS, poverty, and violence. To help empower them to take charge of their lives, Burge, a Washington-based journalist, established a writing group in Gugulethu, a township near Cape Town. Rich with the work from the participants of Amazw’Entombi—Voices of the Girls—Burge’s book introduces spirited and talented individuals intent on a better future for all."