Busted Halo

Busted Halo distributed Flip videocameras to undocumented individuals and agencies and asked them to start videoblogging. We hope Busted Borders gives a personal glimpse into the humanity of these strangers in our midst.

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September 10th, 2010

In this video, Giselle interviews Brother William Becerra, of Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, a shelter for deported immigrants.  Br. William shares his thoughts and experiences about the immigration issue from the other side of the border.

In video one, Giselle discusses the incident that forced her to look at the immigration issue.

In video two, Giselle prepares for her departure to Mexico where she will reunite with her husband and continue to video blog about their life together and strive to break down stereotypes about illegal immigrants and their families.

In video three, Giselle reunites with her husband, Roberto, and interviews him about growing up in Mexico and how and why he came to live in the United States.

In video four, Giselle sets out across the country for her one woman play, The Deportee’s Wife, and shares her various thoughts and insights into immigration issues in the United States.

August 26th, 2010

A few months following the September 11 attacks in New York City, Eboo Patel—like countless other Americans—visited ground zero and prayed in memory of those who were murdered. Nearly a decade later Patel—a Muslim-American who is the founder of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) —now sees that prayerful moment through a different lens. “It’s a little bit shocking” he says “for me to think that my prayers, because they happen to be in Arabic, would have been unwelcome by some people.” His reconsideration of that memory was catalyzed by the current controversy surrounding the proposed construction of the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center near ground zero.

Patel’s interest in interfaith relations has its roots in his experience working and living at several Catholic Worker houses during his college years. He went on to obtain a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Since then he founded IFYC, a Chicago-based institution dedicated to building the global interfaith youth movement. Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Patel is also a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships as well as the author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation and a Washington Post blog “The Faith Divide.”

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August 24th, 2010

As the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on August 26, 2010 approaches, David Van Biema — former chief religion writer at TIME and the author and editor of TIME Mother Teresa: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint — sat down to discuss the life and legacy one of the most iconic human beings of the 20th Century.

August 11th, 2010

In this video, Miguel talks about racial tension and his experiences growing up as an undocumented hispanic in a small town in the United States.

In video 1, Miguel, an immigrant from Mexico who migrated illegally with his family when he was young, speaks about how he had to hide his undocumented status from those he was closest to growing up.

August 10th, 2010

The great challenge for Christian leadership is to help people go beyond fears of difference and experience diversity as God’s way of bringing about new creation, said the Rev. Virgilio P. Elizondo.

Elizondo has been recognized by Time magazine as one of the leading spiritual innovators in the U.S. for developing a Christian theology within the context of the Mexican immigrant experience.

He is professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at the University of Notre Dame and also serves a parish in San Antonio, Texas. In 2007 he received the Community of Christ International Peace Award for his advocacy on behalf of justice and inclusion for immigrants.

Among his books are The Future Is Mestizo, Galilean Journey and The Human Quest. He earned his Ph.D. from the Institut Catholique de Paris.

The video clip is an excerpt of the following edited transcript.

Q: How does your personal background affect your interest in the mestizo theology?

My background is Mexican, but I was born in the United States. My parents were immigrants. Being Latin American is basically being a blood mixture of European and Native Americans and somewhat African. The mestizo reality is that union comes through sexual intercourse and spirituality. It produces a new child, and that child is from different ethnic groups.

In that sense, Latin America was totally different from the U.S., where race mixture was prohibited until after World War II. In Latin America, it was kind of encouraged from the beginning. What emerged was a new human group, the mestizos of Latin America. We’re a mixture.

Because in the United States mixture was looked upon in a negative way, my own pilgrimage has been to discover something positive in it, something very beautiful, and I see it as the beginning of the global humanity.

Q: What do you mean when you say that the future is mestizo?

The global community is growing. People are mixing more and more. I had a beautiful student in my

August 6th, 2010

With the success of our Spiritual Seekers Camino pilgrimage, we decided to explore expanding the offerings of Busted Halo-themed travel for young adults. In partnership with Franciscan Spirit Tours this summer we accompanied college students from the University of Memphis on a service trip to Peru. The volunteers spent a week clearing a space to install a water purification system inside Ciudad de los Niños, a Franciscan-run orphanage for 300 children in Lima. They also took the time to film their project and discuss how the trip affected them physically, emotionally and, of course, spiritually.
How You Can Help
Ciudad de los Niños has been run for over 50 years by the Capuchin Franciscans and it sustains itself financially by making products such as clothes, furniture and baked goods. A microcosm of true Christian community, workers and students alike pitch in to make their own school uniforms, bunk beds, desks, bookshelves and meals. They also provide services such as haircuts and car repairs.

The orphanage is always looking for new markets in which to sell their products such as school uniforms, T-shirts, medical garb and similar articles of clothing. “We’ve developed a system for processing orders,” says John Mattras, president of Franciscan Spirit Tours and a volunteer advisor to the Ciudad de los Niños. A number of Catholic schools are now having uniforms made by the orphanage at a cost approximately one-third lower than American suppliers.

“The school forwards a sample of the item they are currently using,” says Mattras, “and the …

August 5th, 2010

Welcome to the 2010 version of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide — the first college guide to offer a holistic look into the lives of college students by combining practical advice on student life — academics, relationships and lifestyle — with guidance on coping with the emotional and spiritual issues college students face. Here are our online Freshman Survival Guide resources for 2010:

August 4th, 2010

eve-tushnet-flash

At a time when the issues of homosexuality and religion are creating enormous rifts and clearly defined factions within many faith communities, Eve Tushnet is a category unto herself. The freelance writer and blogger became aware that she was gay at around age 13 and felt very supported by her parents. (Dad is a Harvard law professor and her mother is an attorney involved with issues surrounding the prison-industrial complex.) Then, having been raised in a Reform Jewish/secular household, she encountered a philosophical debating society while she was an undergraduate at Yale, and the conversations and debates she engaged in there eventually led her to convert to Catholicism.

Now, at age 32, Tushnet is a unique voice in the discussion of religion and homosexuality. She very openly embraces her sexual orientation but is celibate and advocates against same sex marriage. She is the darling of numerous church conservatives but is also a great admirer of radical pacifist and Catholic Worker Movement founder Dorothy Day. Ultimately, however — as our discussion below indicates — simple labels and categories are unhelpful with regard to Tushnet , whose greatest commitment appears to be to an “ethos to pursue truth wherever it takes you, and then live up to that no matter what it costs.”

Busted Halo: The philosophical debating society at Yale, the Party of the Right, had a huge impact on your thinking. What was so compelling about that experience?

Eve Tushnet: It was very obvious to me from fairly early on that this group had an ethos to pursue truth wherever it takes you, and then live up to that no matter what it costs.

I knew a bunch of people who converted to various religious beliefs or away from other religious beliefs in which they’d been raised and who had pretty serious breaks with their parents as a result.

I think, as with any really intense intellectual community, it catered to people who were already dissatisfied with themselves

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July 27th, 2010

immigration-reform-flash

I have lived my life believing in human rights, equality and the law. I am a retired deputy sheriff and have dealt with immigrants, documented and undocumented, up close and personal. I have seen them abused and I have seen them abuse the law. But, as both a Catholic and a retired law enforcement officer, I would like to put forth a perspective rarely touched upon in this debate occurring here on Busted Halo — the perspective of the law.

There is no debate on the fact that comprehensive immigration reform is necessary. The debate resides squarely in how it is to be handled. There is little doubt that undocumented persons are victims of past legal mishandling, corporate greed, bigotry and a host of other social ills. In fact, without clearly defined legal standing, immigrant workers cannot sue, seek redress or practice equal status in U.S. citizenship, making them — for lack of a better term — subject to a unique new form of slavery. There is little doubt that the project of immigration reform demands our due diligence and God’s loving grace in its resolution.

I was once called to a building site at a local “high-end” gated community — surrounded by a golf course, ocean-side view — to arbitrate an issue between the building contractor and the undocumented workers who had built the mansion on that site. There was a nice lady there who was speaking for about a dozen men who did not speak English and who had not been paid for their work. As a matter of law, I had to explain to the nice lady that the sheriff’s office does not handle “civil matters” and that the fellas would have to take the contractor to court to get their money. She smiled but there was a clear look of disappointment on her face. “We already tried that,” she replied, “And we were told they had no legal standing to sue because they are undocumented.” It was a sick feeling — not to be able to help.

July 16th, 2010

Miguel, an immigrant from Mexico who migrated illegally with his family when he was young, speaks about how he had to hide his undocumented status from those he was closest to growing up.

July 1st, 2010

Fr. McGarry discusses his years in the Holy Land and his extensive work on Jewish-Christian relations. The Los Angeles native also touches on the divisions he sees in both American politics and the Catholic Church in this country and how the fundamental question that drew him to the Paulists back in 1965, “Can a Priest be a Modern Man?” is still as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.

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June 24th, 2010

In this video, Irving, a Mexican immigrant who has been living in NYC since age 4, talks about his struggles being undocumented and interviews a coworker about her thoughts on immigration.

June 17th, 2010

In this video, Siby, from Mauritania in West Africa, discusses how he was caught by the authorities when trying to travel back to Mali to visit his sick parent.

In video one, Siby talks about why he left home to come to the United States

June 11th, 2010

The People vs. Helen Thomas

The overnight implosion of her sixty-year career is a metaphor for the changing media landscape.

Reporter Helen Thomas had been a fixture of the White House Press Corps since the Eisenhower administration, making the diminutive 89-year-old journalist a feminist pioneer.

In recent years, however, Thomas was also derided by her colleagues as a hostile and distracting presence in the briefing room; “They think I’m intrusive and they think that I shouldn’t have my opinions and so forth,” she acknowledged in a 2008 interview. “Well, that’s their problem.”

Fellow reporters resented the fact that Thomas was the only correspondent with her very own designated seat (in the front row, no less) even though she was an opinion columnist and not, as Time‘s Joe Klein put it, “a working reporter.”

Others were irritated by her abrasive personality

Thomas’ vitriolic expression of hatred toward the Jewish state touched a nerve… At the end of the day, Helen Thomas couldn’t escape the chorus of outrage from her colleagues in the media, and from ordinary TV news viewers, blog readers and talk radio callers.

and obvious bias. In a 2006 New Republic piece, Jonathan Chait accused Thomas of delivering “unhinged rants,” while CBS correspondent Mark Knoller acknowledged that “sometimes her questions were embarrassing to other reporters.”

Indeed, “colleagues sometimes rolled their eyes at her obvious biases,” said Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. But, unlike the outspoken Helen, her colleagues mostly kept their feelings about her to themselves, out of deference to her seniority.

Longstanding resentments finally broke the surface this month, when a few seconds of video, captured on a tiny flip camera, sped around the Internet and ultimately cost Thomas her job.

No one was more surprised than the man who shot the film. Rabbi David Nesenoff of Long Island had visited the White House on May 27 to celebrate “American Jewish Heritage Celebration Day” with his teenage son and the boy’s friend. In the

June 10th, 2010

In this video, Giselle sets out across the country for her one woman play, The Deportee’s Wife, and shares her various thoughts and insights into immigration issues in the United States.

June 8th, 2010

eileen-hart-Island-flash

There is an island in the East River, within view of the glittering Manhattan skyline, where the homeless and indigent are buried: an island of the dead. There, amid tall grasses and the calls of seagulls, the poorest New Yorkers — those who had families that couldn’t afford to bury them or who had no family, those who died anonymous and homeless on city streets, and those whose bodies were never claimed from the city morgue — find their final repose.

While some of the people buried on Hart Island are nameless, they are not forgotten. Every second month a knot of people gathers on a windy pier on City Island in the Bronx and boards a ferry to the island. There they say prayers for the dead and stand in silence before the limestone grave markers.

Most of the visitors don’t know anyone on the island, but they say they don’t want anyone to be unmourned, to be returned to God without a prayer said on their behalf.

“Even if we didn’t know them, it’s important. Their lives mattered and we remember their lives,” said Drew Hendrickson, a student at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan who visited the island in March.

For Owen Rogers, who has been part of the memorial services for three years, the mile-long island is a sacred place.

As he led prayers on a recent trip, Rogers asked God to grant the dead eternal rest, but for the living he prayed for a bit of agitation. “Perhaps it is best God, that our peace be a little disturbed,” so the living are reminded of their duty to the poor and outcast.

“It is a place where people return to the God who made us all,” said Rogers, a member of Picture the Homeless, an activist group run by people who are homeless or were in the past. “There is a peace there, but it is an uneasy peace, because these were people who were forgotten in life, who were disrespected, abused and

June 3rd, 2010

In this video, Giselle reunites with her husband, Roberto, and interviews him about growing up in Mexico and how and why he came to live in the United States.

In video one, Giselle discusses the incident that forced her to look at the immigration issue.

In video two, Giselle prepares for her departure to Mexico where she will reunite with her husband and continue to video blog about their life together and strive to break down stereotypes about illegal immigrants and their families.

May 26th, 2010

In this video, Giselle prepares for her departure to Mexico where she will reunite with her husband and continue to video blog about their life together and strive to break down stereotypes about illegal immigrants and their families.

In video one, Giselle discusses the incident that forced her to look at the immigration issue.

May 19th, 2010

In this video, Benita shares some of the skills she has acquired while trying to support herself as an undocumented worker. 

In episode one, Benita discusses her background and the difficulties she faced growing up.

In episode two, Benita describes how a routine traffic stop has turned her life upside down.

In episode three, Benita talks about the story of Esther and God’s plan.

In episode four, Benita talks about her hopes and dreams for attending law school.

May 13th, 2010

Meet Siby from Mauritania in West Africa. In this, his first video, Mirlande Jean-Louis finds out why Siby left home to come to the United States.

Stay tuned for his next installment when he’ll talk about what it has been like living undocumented.

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