Altars in the Street; A Courageous Memoir of Community and Spiritual Awakening

Overview

A wonderfully written memoir, overflowing with miraculous stories, of a Buddhist private eye who vows to heal her community's suffering from violence and racism.

Altars in the Street is for people who live in cities and those who have fled them. It will speak to anyone who cares about the future of our children, our neighborhoods, and our nation, as well as anyone who wants to look truthfully at the relationship between poverty and prisons and between community and education. ...

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Overview

A wonderfully written memoir, overflowing with miraculous stories, of a Buddhist private eye who vows to heal her community's suffering from violence and racism.

Altars in the Street is for people who live in cities and those who have fled them. It will speak to anyone who cares about the future of our children, our neighborhoods, and our nation, as well as anyone who wants to look truthfully at the relationship between poverty and prisons and between community and education. Drawing on deep reserves of good humor, common sense, and practical experience of nonviolent action, Melody Ermachild Chavis has written a moving testament to the power of spirit in today's often cynical world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I felt the same combinaton of inspiraton and galvanizing anger as I did after reading Sister Helen Prejean's Dead Man Walking--except that Melody seemed to go one step further. For so many of us who ask, 'But how can I help?' this book offers the inspiration and the path."
--Linda Loewenthal, Editor, Quality Paperback Book Club

"The deepest message of this book is showing by example how opportunities for Engaged Buddhism present themselves in day-to-day life. Without dogma or rhetoric Chavis shwos how an ordinary person works at making change happen... and just how far one can go by having a dream and living it."
--Barbara Hirshkowitz, Turning Wheel

"The author's efforts to deal constructively with her own anger, to cease thinking dualisztically, and to practice lovingkindness--even to those who are her enemies--reveal the essence of spiritual politics. Altars in the Street powerfully conveys the ethical base of service and the rigors of compassion in an embattled environment."
--Values & Visions

"Ms. Chavis's moving account of her efforts to build, protect, and enhance a home and community are compelling reading for all who are truly commited to efforts to solve community problems and to build a better future for our children."
--Congressman Ronald V. Dellums

"Altars in the Street presents a startling juxtaposition of the fierce and inspiring facts of everyday life in an inner city neighborhood, with an appealing perspective on the greening of the city...a celebration of life."
--Carl Anthony, president of Earth Island Institute and director of Urban Habitat Program

"This book makes me sad and mad as helleveryone concerned with the survival of our children and communinties must read it."
--Herbert Kohl, author of Thirty-Six Children

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609801963
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/25/1998
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Melody Ermachild Chavis, a board member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, is a private investigator who works on trials and appeals for death row inmates, a youth justice advocate, and a mentor to a community gardening program. She writes for Yoga Journal, Sierra, Shambhala Sun, Turning Wheel, and other publications, and lives with her husband in Berkeley, California.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
1 Skye's House 1
2 Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Private Eye I Learned as a Kindergarten Teacher 10
3 A Sense of Place 18
4 Soul Food 33
5 Way-Seeking Mind 48
6 Hunger 61
7 Skin 70
8 Vows 75
9 Quakes 82
10 Some Way, Somehow, It Has to Stop 86
11 Balance 97
12 The Koans of Alma Street 101
13 How Will It Ever End? 111
14 Hello, My Anger 117
15 Bypassing the Heart 122
16 Cells for Seven-Year-Olds 125
17 Why? 138
18 Marcus 144
19 Whither Thou Goest 149
20 Day of the Dead 151
21 Edna White's Garage Burns 158
22 Elders 164
23 Right Speech 170
24 The Garden of Our Dreams 174
25 I Shall Not Be Moved 185
26 Look 188
27 Community Service 191
28 Gun Control 193
29 Stepping on a Land Mine 202
30 Just One Woman 214
31 Mother's Day 219
32 Juneteenth 226
33 Ruchell Gets Arrested 231
34 The Woman Who Dug up Her Heart 237
35 Into the River 240
Epilogue 255
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