Change Movements

Sanctuary for Daniel Neyoy Ruiz at Southside Presbyterian in Tucson

Alison HarringtonRev. Alison Harrington is a young minister at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Arizona. She is also the daughter of Revs. Steve and Nancy Harrington – Nancy married us in 2002. While in seminary, she coached a men’s softball team at San Quentin Prison.

Don’t mess with Alison.

As you might imagine, a California girl with a family and upbringing steeped in social justice has a lot on her mind and a lot on her hands, serving a community in Tucson Arizona. She does it with grace, strength, and most of all, love.

On Tuesday May 13, Alison and the congregation at Southside Presbyterian opened their doors to provide public sanctuary to Daniel Neyoy Ruiz, who faces deportation and separation from his wife Karla, and their son Carlos.

On Alison’s Groundswell page, she explains “what we are asking ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to do, is something they do every day. The Obama administration has said that people like Daniel – individuals with no criminal history, with strong ties to the community, and with US Citizen children are a low priority for deportations and he has said recently that we should not be in the business of tearing apart families.”


Daniel Ruiz FamilyIn an editorial published in the Arizona Daily Star, Alison says “throughout scriptures, people of faith are called to care for the orphan and the widow, but when it is a broken immigration system that is creating orphans and widows, we need to start intervening sooner.”

This is not the first time Southside Presbyterian has offered public sanctuary.

Alison continues… “Offering sanctuary to Neyoy Ruiz was something we prayerfully and carefully considered because we do not take this action lightly. As one of the founding churches of the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s, we know there are risks involved and we know there is a great deal of work ahead as we reorient the life of our church around caring for this family.”

This is truly a case where a small act of love by many individuals and change the world. Will you help?

What is Love?

What a privilege to be a part of someone’s love story.

On their first date, George and Gloria Gates walked into Mission City Coffee in Fremont, Calif., just as we were singing The Miracle. When you create from your heart, you just never know how far your creation will reach to affect peoples lives!

This video interview is part of a new series of stories created by SAVE – Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments, a nonprofit organization in Fremont, Calif, to highlight positive, inspiring relationships.

We love you George and Gloria!


Finding Your Voice and Speaking Your Truth

Earlier this year, I connected with a powerhouse of a woman: Nancy Mills, founder of – a global women’s empowerment community. The whole idea behind The Spirited Woman is to celebrate the Every Woman Visionary, changing the world one spirited woman step at a time.

Yesterday, hundreds of visionary women began a 12-day Sharefest on Facebook and Pinterest, with an intriguing and thought provoking theme for each day.

Today’s theme is “Finding your Voice and Speaking Your Truth.”

This is a deeply personal topic for me. The bridge to “I Found Myself” which we recorded on our “Love Can Change The World” CD, says…

I lived through the silence, and found my voice

Now I am standing behind my choice

The details of my story aren’t as important as the result of reaching a point in my life when I simply had to listen to my inner voice, allow it to inform my voice in the world, and stand up for that choice.

My choices are what have shaped me. It has taken all I have been, to become who I am.

That is self-love. And self-love is a love that changes the world, every day.

 — Bev

You Can’t Evict an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Wise words of building community, embracing gifts, and understanding that the revolution is love.

Beautifully done.

Directed by Ian MacKenzie
Co-produced with Velcrow Ripper

What is Enough, and what is madness?

We were in the middle of mixing Love Can Change The World when the messages from Tom Shadyac’s documentary, “I Am – The Film” worked their way into a rhythmic chant…

What is enough, and what is madness?
Where do we stand along this path of sadness
Follow the line between hunger and greed
How much do we need?

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations spread throughout the country, and the voices are being heard. Every day we balance our bills with our established level of comfort, and even with our nervousness about the future we remind ourselves of how much better off we are than so, so many people in our country and beyond.

Changing the world starts with each one of us. We’re not begrudging those who are financially successful. We just need to ask ourselves, what is enough? How much do we really need, and what can we do to make this a country – and a world – where children don’t go hungry and everyone has access to healthcare?

KGO Fights Hunger Day – we can all play a part

We’re listening to KGO Radio in San Francisco today as we pay bills, get ready to leave for the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA) Conference, and generally stay busy with the work of getting Love Can Change The World ready for distribution on iTunes, and the like, as well as work with our radio promoter to make sure the record gets heard far and wide.

While we work, admittedly we gripe a little about all the details required to get this record out into the world while we much on walnuts and fresh fruit and plan what healthy yummy food we’ll take with us on our trip next week.

Except today is a little different for our local talk radio station that we have on in the background – today is KGO Fights Hunger Day.

So we stop, and realize once again that we have to pay attention to the words we sing:

Love Can Change the World, I can play a part…

So we’ve put the word out to our Facebook fans and friends and  Twitter followers and made this offer: We’ll send a cope of our as yet unreleased new CD Love Can Change The world to the first ten people who email us (or Facebook message or Tweet us) after donating $25 or more to Bay Area Food Banks via KGO Fight’s Hunger today before 7:00 pm. We’ll just have to trust you on this, we’re not connected at all with KGO’s effort, we just want to spread the word and give our friends and fans some incentive to get involved.

Finding healthy food on just a few dollars a day is a tremendous challenge, and its no secret that economic realities are depleting food banks everywhere.

So, if your’e in the Bay Area, please listen to KGO today with an open heart. Wherever you area, you can play a part in the fight to end hunger.

Tenth Anniversary of the World Trade Center Disaster

On September 11, 2001 we glued ourselves to the television, like practically everyone else in the world with access to one.

On this tenth anniversary, television viewers will have a plethora of options from MSNBC’s “Days of Destruction – Decade of War” to Access Hollywood offering reflections from celebrities. CNN has a your choices here.

Or, what about this? We could all just turn off our television sets. Spend time with loved ones. Enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. Focus on peace.

On Saturday September 10, the eve of the tenth anniversary, we’re participating in a Celebration of Peace concert at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Cruz California. It’s not a commemoration of tragedy, its a opportunity to participate in a quantum exercise – a choice to focus on peace.

This event is free to the public. If you’re in Santa Cruz, please join us. If you’re further away, please join us in spirit.

Odetta’s Farm: The Gates Foundation on Fighting Hunger and Poverty

We wrote a while back about what an impact Tom Shadyac’s documentary I AM – The Film has had on us. Not that the fact that we are all connected is new or surprising, but, like so many other people we just get caught up in our daily grind and we forget.

In particular, the concept of “enough’ has stuck with us. What is enough? How much do we really need? At what point does the constant race for more and better and finer and richer become sheer madness at the expense of other human beings?

We’re just finishing up recording our new CD but these words just kept hitting us, so we’ve added a brand new song that echoes this chant over and over… what is enough, and what is madness? We can’t wait to share it with you.

Odetta’s Farm

In this video from the Gates Foundation, Bill narrates the story about Odetta’s farm in Rwanda. By working in partnership with the World Food Programme Odetta has expanded her crop, which means she is providing much needed food for her community in addition to meeting her own needs. She has quadrupled her income in the last year and now lives in a four room home rather than a two room hut – which means she can care for and feed the children of her poorer relatives in addition to her own two children.

Odetta’s story is touching – but more than that, it’s an important lesson about what is enough. And about how what we do with our abundance matters a great deal in this very connected world we share.

I AM – the Doc: We are All Connected

Sometimes several events dovetail together, and we just have to take in the significance.

The truth that we are all deeply connected has been brought home to us in so many ways over the past several weeks. The tragedy of the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami has affected the entire planet, not just those in affected areas. The damage to the nuclear containment vessels at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant is of concern to all.

Just the week before the earthquake, we saw the new documentary I AM with director Tom Shadyac present for Q&A afterward.

This amazing film drives home the point that everyone and everything living on this planet is interconnected with everyone and everything that has ever lived on this planet. We are breathing the molecules that were once breathed by the pharaohs, dancing on the dirt that was once trampled by the dinosaurs. Our thoughts and reactions affect everyone and everything around us. It’s not “woo woo,” it’s science, and this message has never been more important than right now.

We all know it, we just need to live it… and share it. On Facebook. On Twitter. On your blog.

Shadyac, best known for his comedy blockbusters Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor, set out to answer two simple questions: with I AM:

What’s wrong with the world, and what can we do to fix it?

Ironically, in the process of trying to figure out what‟s wrong with the world, Shadyac discovered there‟s more right than he ever imagined, along with some major “a ha” moments.

  • Cooperation not competition, as well as consensus decision making, is more apparent in nature than we thought – as evidenced when observing a herd of 100 deer which one by one turn their heads toward the nearest watering hole until the 51st deer turned its head and they all moved together.
  • Humans actually function better and remain healthier when expressing positive emotions, such as love, care, compassion, and gratitude, versus their negative counterparts, anxiety, frustration, anger and fear.
  • Charles Darwin may be best known for popularizing the notion that nature is red in tooth and claw, but, as Shadyac points out, he used the word love 95 times in The Descent of Man, while his most famous phrase, survival of the fittest, appears only twice.

Watch the trailer for I Am – the Doc. Please check for showtimes near you and bring friends.

We’re reminded today, after the shooting Congresswoman Gabriella Gifford and the deaths of innocent bystanders, that our society continues to ignore, or make excuses for the violence that surrounds us.

Our friend Roy Donkin calls for action from those who have incited violence against members of congress who disagree with them.

More than 40 years ago, Robert Kennedy spoke out against the mindless violence that plagues our lives, saying “only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.”

What will it take? Will we remain silent, or will we speak out against fear-mongering and hatred?


One Warm Coat

It’s turned cold here in Northern California. Now, I know that sounds silly to those of you in actual COLD climates, but it did dip into the 40s today, and in my book, that’s not shorts and t shirt weather.

So now, before we head for the door I go to the front closet to grab a coat. The black fleece cloak is great to throw on for running to the store. The brown utilitarian Dickie’s coat is great if I’ll be walking around outside for awhile, and I’ll grab the white rain coat if it looks wet outside. Then there’s my leather coat for when I’m more dressed up… a ski jacket, a beautiful satin-lined Paco Soler jacket (white with elephants and palm trees) … the list goes on.

Not only do I not have to be cold, I have choices.

Not so with countless others in our community – and yours. Warm coats are an ongoing need for agencies that serve the needs of the homeless and the growing number of families living at or below the poverty level. The One Warm Coat organization is national non-profit that supports and encourages coat drives.  It helps individuals, groups, companies and organizations across the country collect coats and deliver them to local agencies that distribute the coats free to people in need.   More than one million coats have been provided to those in need at no cost since its inception in 1992.

Along with others in the Bay Area, including SF Weekly and the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, we’re sponsoring a One Warm Coat drive this holiday season. As a close to our two-year TrueWind Acoustic Fridays Concert Series, we’re celebrating the season with a fun evening of songs and their writers. Hans York, Steve Kritzer, Claudia Russell & the Folk Unlimited Orchestra and us… Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon.

The admission price? One warm coat, of course.

Friday December 17, 2010
Doors open at 7:00 pm – Music starts at 7:30 pm
Mission City Coffee Roasting Company
2221 The Alameda, Santa Clara California

Bring a warm coat, or cash/check donation for Sacred Heart Community Services of San Jose. We’ll be delivering the donations to Sacred Heart during the following week.

Sacred Heart’s mission is to build a community free from poverty by creating hope, opportunity, and action. The agency, founded in 1964, provides essential services, empowers people to improve their lives, advocates for justice, and inspires volunteers to love, serve, and share.

That kind of love can absolutely change the world.

— Bev Barnett

Pay it Forward Day

My high school friend Kathy sent me a Facebook invitation to Pay it Forward Day, apparently the second annual Pay it Forward Day created by David Del Mundo of Santa Cruz California.

Back in August I posted that Greg and I had never seen the movie, and thought we should rent it. We still haven’t done it – but it doesn’t mean that the concept has escaped us.

I haven’t been on Facebook all that much the past couple of days, so I didnt’ really look at the event page Kathy sent me until this evening. Its a cool idea, and its encouraging to read the comments from people…. on the event wall. Several people pre-paid for coffee for those in line behind them … one picked up an older woman and gave her a ride home … and another pointed out that its not only about purchasing something, rather its an attitude – a way of life based in kindness and gratitude. Someone else started a new Pay it Forward Every Day Facebook page, where you can share your random acts of kindness every day.

Some may say that telling people about the nice things you do for others somehow negates those acts of kindness. And I have to admit, bragging is not flattering. But part of spreading the the idea of doing good things in the world has to involve telling these stories – whether we tell what we did for someone else, or what someone else did for us.

I say tell it, spread it, watch it grow…. pay it forward.

– bev

Stewart and Colbert March Together – or Against Each other?

Ok, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have our attention. We’re all about looking at the world from a place of love, not fear, so Colbert’s mission to bring people to Washington DC for a  March to Keep Fear Alive is just too much for us to take sitting down. We all need to stand up and listen to Bev Barnett & Greg Newlon sing Love Can Change World. You can watch the video right on this Web site.

Her’es what Colbert says on the March to Keep Fear Alive Web site:

“America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance. “

We’re not sure if Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity counter measure is the answer, but its worth thinking about. We might be too busy to actually do anything about it, but then again, that seems to be the whole point behind the movement.

The Huffington Post pulled it together with an analysis of these these two video clips from each satirist’s recent shows, saying either way, to expect lots of  Stewart and Colbert fans to show up in Washington on October 30.

We can’t be there though, we’re too busy.

What did you learn from your father?

Its Father’s Day weekend, and yesterday on KGO, our local talk radio station, the topic was “What did you learn about life from your father?” Radio host Gil Gross said “don’t over think this, just call in with the first thing that comes to your mind.”

The calls were inspirational. You can listen to the podcast of Gil’s show here.

Most of the calls were from people with great dads who taught them important keys to life either through words or actions.

But one call came from a man who didn’t have such a great dad. He and his siblings were abused by their alcoholic father, who was abused by his alcoholic father. He said that although his father wasn’t such a great guy, he can still be thankful for what he taught him… that he will never, ever treat his own children the way he had been treated.

Now that’s a positive way to look at a horrible experience.

The Child Help Web site reports that about 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the cycle of abuse – so stories about breaking this chain and overcoming the cycle of abuse are encouraging.

That’s definitely love at work in the world.

Can Yoga Change the World?

Reduce, recycle re-use… 40 years ago these were not every day concepts. But today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and in one generation we've become conditioned to head for the recycle bin instead of the trash with our paper, plastic and aluminum cans. 

Every time we make that effort, we show our love for the environment … and we help to change the world.

Some of us, like Recycle Your Mat founder Stephanie Stano, take that one step farther and look for ways to help the environment and change the world through programs that have a direct effect on people's lives.

Recycleyourmat Stephanie's goal for Recycle Your Mat is simple:

1) keep yoga mats out of the landfill

2) create a system for yoga mat recycling

3) recycle and up-cycle mats in a ecologically conscious

… but what she's done goes much further than that…


There are Recycle Your Mat drop off locations all over the country collecting mats that are sent to Stephanie's Eugene Oregon location. Our closest location is the We've Got Your Back store in Los Gatos. Many are redistributed for use in a unique program called Street Yoga. Here's a synopsis of the program from their Web site:

Street Yoga offers free yoga, wellness
and meditation
classes to homeless youth, and youth at risk of
homelessness. We hope to offer to the youth a chance to create sincere,
lasting wellness in their own lives, and at the same time give them
tools to help themselves meet their own core needs.

We're often asked Why Yoga with
Homeless Youth?
Don't they need food and shelter first? We've
gone through much searching after this. At it's core it's a matter of
respect and dignity. Why do we brush our teeth? Because, at best, it
helps us feel more healthy, whole and hopeful. Yoga provides that, and
so much more.

You might wonder about giving away Yoga sessions to street kids, when other organizations are giving them food, shelter and jobs. There's a very thoughtful article on this subject here, but basically, the Street Yoga folks explain it this way:

We've gone through much searching after this. At it's core it's a matter
of respect and dignity. Why do we brush our teeth? Because, at best, it
helps us feel more healthy, whole and hopeful. Yoga provides that, and
so much more.

Love can change the world in so many ways. Love has so many faces.The willingness to work with kids who have backgrounds of abuse, neglect, drugs and homelessness shows an incredible example of looking at the world from a place of love rather than fear. And providing a chance to interact with positive adult role models in a Yoga practice focused on self-growth and empowerment gives them something no one can ever take away… ownership of their own sense of self worth. 

And that's a great way to change the world.