Friday, November 7, 2008

Regarding Proposition 8 in California

I am sad and disappointed about the results of the Prop. 8 ballot measure. I saw so many people at the phone banks doing lots of hard work calling, calling, and calling. This was the most organized and impressive political action I've seen in a long time. At the LGBT Latino Gay Coalition I was surprised and happy to see my neighbors, a very nice couple who are not gay participating in the phone banking activity. While I was outside holding up my No on 8 sign to the passing cars a young lady asked me questions about homosexuality and the Bible. I did the best I could to answer her questions and I recommended she view the documentary FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO, which can be found on the website of the same name. This encounter with this young teenager gave me pause to think about another aspect of this campaign that I forgot about.. I forgot about the religious fervor. People who voted yes probably thought they were doing God's will. And they think that because as Bishop Gene Robinson stated "We [the church] taught them that. The religious conservative church has taught and is still teaching that homosexuality is against God's will. I myself thought I was condemmed to hell by God for being Gay. It has taken me years to undo that message from my heart, mind, and soul. Now I think it's time we find a way to add an educational message and debunk the finite number of passages in th Bible used to condemn homosexuals . Perhaps a flyer with the Bible verses and its' inaccurate interpretations side by side with the accurate interpretations and signed by various leaders in the religious community including the recent Bishop of the Mormon Church who publicly announced his rejection of Prop. 8 which is jeopardizing his position in the mormon church.

I also think it's time for all LGBT people to come out of the closet. Those who are out are doing the work for those who are not out.

Finally, if we tweak our strategy just a little bit i'm sure we will win hearts and minds and WE will be doing God's work of ending the discrimination and hate that is misdirected toward us. Let us remember that we have brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted for being homosexual. I think about them also and pray that the work done here will liberate them as well. So be it!

Yours truly, vivian varela

See today's press release


132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101

Press Advisory: November 6, 2008

Pasadena Church holds press conference to commit to continue to “marry” same sex couples and fight Prop 8.

Rector of All Saints Church, the Rev. Ed Bacon, calls passage of Prop 8 “immoral” and “shameful” and announces that the church will ignore passage of the ballot initiative and will continue to “marry” same sex couples. Announcement accompanied by celebration of wedding cake on the lawn with many same sex couples married since June 17th.

Press Contact: Louise Brooks, Media Coordinator

All Saints Church 626-993-4605


Pasadena, CA – All Saints Church has blessed the unions of same sex couples since 1991 and has married 43 couples since June 17th, 2008. They lead the progressive faith voices against Prop 8 and will now fight to make sure it does not succeed.

On Sunday, the Rev. Ed Bacon will preach a sermon challenging those who used religion to promote discrimination instead of equality during the Prop 8 battle.


The Rev, Susan Russell, President, Integrity USA

The Rev. Zelda Kennedy, Member, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Commission on Black Ministry.

The Rev. Abel Lopez, National Episcopal Task Force for Hispanic Ministry

Where: All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid, Pasadena, CA.

When: Sunday, November 9th, 2008 – CAMERAS WELCOME

Sermon at 11:15am Service

Press Conference at 12:45pm in courtyard

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

To everyone who wants change

Everyone who wants change will vote for Barak Obama. If everyone who wants change... REALLY wants change vote for Ralph Nader.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Music For Charity Event

Mystical songs and Poetry
presented by
Veronica Christenson, Mezzo Soprano
Poetry of Mary Torregrossa, read by Mary Torregrossa
Saturday April 12, 4pm
at St. Georges Church in La Canada
808 Foothill Blvd, La Canada, CA 91011
Net proceeds will be donated to Hillsides Children's Home
Suggested donation $20.00

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Poem We Wrote

On the Evening of Stan “Tookie” Williams’ Execution

Anger swells in my chest

A burning heart

A violent death

An execution

Furious flames of our violent history

Have not been extinguished

The fire line grows hotter

With every electrocution

At every death row vigil

The candles are lit with hope

In my burning heart a plea

To stop the violence

In me. Redemption,

Mercy; mercy on our burning hearts

Friends and enemies alike

We wait for the sea change

To douse the flames

A riot response

A lonely wait

We search for our community

of compassion

and love

We start our search here together

Written by

Mary Torregrossa

Vivian Marie Varela

Carl Stilwell

Mynor Loarca


On the evening of Stan “Tookie” Williams’ execution.

Los Angeles, California

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Can't Believe What My Eyes Have Seen 1,2, and 3

Yesterday after work I swept out my bus. Big deal,right? No, not really, just a regular practice BUT as I was sweeping the dust out of the passenger door and passing the bristles over the corner crevices near the black plastic trashcan by the door, I saw something small and shiny. I reached down to pick up this small object, half the size of a thumb tack. I looked at it in amazement and awe! It was my little rabbit gold earring! I kept looking at it in disbelief! Maybe I'm just imagining this to be my earring! But it's gold. 24k. A unique color. Mixed with copper. A gift from one of my long time friends in Chile. I had given it up for lost when I found the other one about a month ago in my room on my dresser. I searched for the missing one and gave up, believing It had been sucked into the vacuum cleaner I had passed days earlier! I lifted it up in my hand and thanked God for it! Counting it as a blessing and a miracle in my eyes! I called my mother and told her the good news! I knew that she would understand without explanation that it truly was a miracle! Here's another reason why it's a miracle. My school bus had been in the repair shop for over a week due to the heater core being broken.The area where they were working was precisely the area behind the trashcan. I stopped by several times to see that section opened up as they replaced the heater core. By the way, one part of it looks like a tiny radiator.

That to me is why it's a miracle. It survived going to the trash netherworld and I must tell this story. I still have my earrings my friend Grace gave me. This is important to me. Sentimental. That's one of the Cancer traits. We hang on to things people give us. It holds a special meaning.

Now, in the afternoon as I headed back to the bus yard in my bus not my car. I took my usual route down Fremont which becomes Pasadena Ave. Well, at Grevelia there is a railroad track that is managed by a traffic signal. I was behind a car with about two cars distance between us and as we approached the intersection we naturally slowed down to about 15mph to go over the tracks. suddenly the car in front of me was in the middle of the track and the light turned yellow. The driver panicked and stopped the car! What the!!!!!! Ahhhhh! I was near the first track. Now the lights were flashing red and arms were coming down so I backed up a little and slowly and then I heard a crunch. My heart was pounding and I thought oh sh _ _ ! I hit a car in the back! Now I'm really in trouble! The train passed!The arm went up and the light turned green. I moved over the track to the other side, stopped my bus and called dispatch. There were no cars behind me. The crossing arm took out one little indicator light and that car took off, sped away without a care for this little bus driver! It looked like a white station wagon like a Subaru or a Mercedes. The license plate had a J and an l and a W in it. That's all I remember Whoever you are. Give up your keys! Hire a driver. Stay off the road! Don't make friends with any bus drivers, or call the Pasadena dispatch office and tell your side of the story!

Last but not least, this morning on my way to work in my car on the same road. I was at the Colombia crossing where you make a left and a quick right to turn onto Pasadena Ave. The light in front of me was green. A clear steady green. No cars in front of me. I approach the intersection and a van whizzes by! I step on the brakes! The car had passed through a red light! To you I say, GET OUT OF TOWN!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Giant Triplets of Racism,Materialism, and Militarism

A Radical Revolution
By Martin Luther King, Jr.

( Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words in what is considered
his most controversial speech on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in
New York City, exactly one year before his assassination. It was not
the first time he had spoken out against the Vietnam War, but it was
the first time he spoke of the 'giant triplets of racism, materialism
and militarism' and linked the war to the Civil Rights Movement.)

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world
revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of
values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented'
society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers,
profit motives and property rights are considered more important than
people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are
incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the
fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the
one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside,
but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that
the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will
not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on
life's highway.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not
haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which
produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will
soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With
righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual
capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa
and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for
the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just."
It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America
and say: "This is not just."

The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach
others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution
of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way
of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human
beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and
widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples
normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields
physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be
reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year
after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of
social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well
lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a
tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so
that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of
war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status
quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood….

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting
against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the
wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being
born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as
never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great
light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad
fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of
communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western
nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the
modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries…. Our only
hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit
and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility
to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we
shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby
speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain
and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and
the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our
loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation
must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order
to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a
worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe,
race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and
unconditional love for all men…. When I speak of love I am not
speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that
force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme
unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the
door which leads to ultimate reality. This
Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality
is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth
is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his
love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can
no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of
retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the
ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of
nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are
confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum
of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.
Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us
standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The 'tide
in the affairs of men' does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may
cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf
to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled
residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too
late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our
vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ
moves on…." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or
violent co-annihilation….

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and
bitter—but beautiful—struggle for a new world. This is the calling of
the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall
we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too
hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate
against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or
will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with
their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The
choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose
in this crucial moment of human history.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My personal reflection 2007

I’m aware of how important gay marriage is to us politically and socially but on an everyday basis I’m painfully aware that in our community there are homeless gay folk, unemployed, underemployed and uninsured gay folk. There are LGBT young people who need foster homes.

I’ve given up the illusion of Utopia and I’ve especially given up the illusion that our government is “for” the people. With the heat of the occupation in Iraq, the weakening of the dollar and the lack of appropriate response to the re-building of New Orleans by the thugs who occupy the White House, it’s clear we must take care of our own.

History has recorded that it has been done before and we can do it in this day and age.

I reflect now, on the loss of some of our leaders in the community who did great things before they left this planet. For example, Audre Lourde who said “your silence will not protect you”, and Gloria Anzaldua who co-edited the groundbreaking work, This Bridge Called My Back, Writings by Radical Women of Color.

I especially want to remember the untimely death of Yolanda Retter Vargas, fierce Latina Lesbian activist, Head librarian of the Chicano Studies Library at UCLA for the last 4 years of her life. In the early 80’s Yolanda had a vision that she spoke about in conversations. She would talk about the need for a lesbian archive. It was a far fetched idea at the time. But it is a reality today.

Something I’ve had on my mind for a while, and I mention it whenever someone lends an ear. In our community I think our most pressing need is for transitional living homes. Why?

How many times have we had to change homes or cities due to a change in a relationship or a job or any number of reasons? I think of how many times as an adult I had to go back to mom’s after a breakup or job change. We need a home, a safety net just in case we just need a few months to get back on our feet. Does this sound like a far fetched idea? Perhaps, but it can be done. For now I want to close with a quote from the introduction of This Bridge Called my Back about how they got the book published in 1981.

How do you concentrate on a project when you’re so worried about paying the rent?

We have sorely learned why so few women of color attempt this kind of project- no money to fall back on. In compiling this book we both maintained two or more jobs just to keep the book and ourselves alive. No time to write while waiting tables. No time for class preparation, to read student’s papers, argue with your boss, have a love life or eat a decent meal when the deadline must be met. No money to buy stamps, to hire a lawyer “to go over the contract,” to engage an agent. Both of us became expert jugglers of our energy and the few pennies in our piggybanks: Gloria’s “little chicken” and Cherrie’s “tecate bucket.”

From page xxv of the introduction

This can apply to any project or idea or dream we attempt? How can we put our collective resources together to take care of our own?

I’m Vivian Marie Varela