Peace bubbles

Hope, perspective, and vision as we move into spring


Women of the world take over because if you don’t the world will come to an end and we haven’t got long... - Karine Polwart

National Donate Life Month in April is a time set aside to honor the generous gifts of organ, eye and tissue donation. It’s also the perfect time to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible. – Mary McLeod Bethune

Hello Monitor readers,
The winds of March highlighted the power of women and the power of brutality that a country can unleash. March also highlighted great high school state tournaments and, unfortunately, local school strikes. And, March also highlighted a beautiful full moon.
So what about April? What will this beautiful spring month shower us with? I have no clue, only the desire to keep hope alive that the arc of justice is bending forward even in our challenging and divisive times. I am looking forward to finally having a Black woman appointed as a Supreme Court judge and seeing a Black man who should never have been appointed a Supreme Court Judge resign! This month, I’m offering three different expressions or food for thought from readers whom I’ve reached out to or who gave me support in rising above my fears (False Evidence Appearing Real) and keeping hope alive within me.

Get to know Prodeo  Academy
Recently I was invited by a Bethel University graduate and former garden work-study student to visit an elementary school where she is working. I was impressed with my visit, which included chatting with some of the school staff, learning about the school’s creative interactions with the students and their families, and meeting the school’s Principal. Of course, I asked if I could share about the school with the Monitor’s readers.
Get to Know Prodeo Academy: Prodeo Academy is a public school with campuses in Saint Paul and Columbia Heights. The Saint Paul campus opened its doors at 170 Rose Ave W in 2018. Starting with a few kindergarten classrooms, it has grown, and in the fall, it will have grades PreK through fifth. Prodeo will keep adding a grade each year until they reach eighth grade in 2025.
Prodeo exists to eliminate the opportunity gap for children and families by removing barriers that prevent children from experiencing an excellent education. Their curriculum and school culture focus on developing critical thinkers and reflective leaders, strengthening character, and expanding opportunities so students can contribute positively and productively to society.
“Our school offers support to families in many ways. We are most proud of how we have continued to learn from and adjust to our families’ language and cultural needs. We offer school-wide communication in three different languages and ensure that we properly staff our school to support multilingual families,” said Prodeo Academy Principal Liz Ferguson.
They also support families through supportive students’ services and a full-day Pre-K. All students receive free breakfast and lunch. Free transportation is provided for all students in their bussing zone.
“Understanding our students’ needs has helped us, as teachers, adjust our instruction to teach students not only what they need to know academically but also the skills to navigate learning and to be successful in life.” Ferguson continued.
Prodeo Academy is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year, and they encouraged families to apply now at to avoid the waitlist.
Prodeo invites you to come and learn more about their school, take a tour, and connect with our staff. Please contact us at (612) 361-7837,, or visit

A word from a Russian-Ukrainian-American
I’ve been fortunate over the years to cross paths with a wonderful MN Facilitator, Irina, from a different Country whose work weaves in & out of my work. She and her husband and her close colleagues have grown to be a few of my Community Soul-Mates. I asked Irina to share some insights regarding what we are seeing in Ukraine in & on the traditional and social media outlets. These are her expressions:
I am Dr. Irina Fursman, Russian-Ukrainian-American, in that order. I have experienced, first-hand, the vast human suffering and upheaval forced upon people at the hands of corrupt government during my youth. I grew up in Far East Russia, learning from my parents and the military community the value of hard work, importance of words, and the power of relationships. My father was a casualty of the Soviet Union collapse. When he and his colleagues did not agree, he was silenced. My mother became a widow at 36, I was 14 and my younger sister was 10. We journeyed back to Crimea, at the time recognized as Ukrainian territory, to re-join my mother’s family in lieu of instability and uncertainty in the Far East region. We survived the chaos, the migration, and collapse of all systems: political, economic, and social.
As an adolescent and a young adult growing up during the 90’s in Ukraine, I learned what freedom really feels like. It is hard work. During this time in Ukraine my worldview expanded, my entrepreneurial spirit was released, and passion for education ignited as the Ukrainian people embraced and supported me and my daughter. My daughter had just turned three when we watched in horror as 9/11 happened, and once again our fragile world was shaken. There was a deep sense of sadness and shock as we watched the beacon of democracy under attack. It was as if our own hopes and dreams of what we may someday be as a nation were being scorched. We all knew if America fails, we are all doomed to fail with her.
As America responded with resolve, our fragile nation struggled with self-determination. A corrupt, semi-authoritarian regime run by criminals was smothering our freedom, much as we see in Russia today. I personally experienced injustices, witnessed violence against young women who were forced into prostitution, and ultimately was “educated” on how a shadow system of government works. Then, act by act, inch by inch, Ukraine began to live up to the ideals only a free people can imagine.
Now, as a US citizen, I am grateful for all those experiences and life lessons of what oppression does to the soul. When I walked the grounds of the Statue of Liberty recently, I was overwhelmed with pride to be an American; I found my home. I love America and grateful to be part of the American story. It is from this place of love and passion that I express my concerns and call for more aggressive actions toward the Russian government while considering with warmth, the Russian people who long for peace.
Russia and Ukraine took two different paths forward: Russian president Vladimir Putin focused on restoring Russia’s image as a world power, building on people’s nostalgia over the past “good days” and the overall sentiment of superiority. Whereas Ukrainian people, although struggled in the earlier years with corrupt government systems and hard to break ties with Kremlin, were determined to join the European Union and pursue democratic way of life. Ukrainian political leaders, who stood against the influence of Kremlin, were threatened, poisoned, or imprisoned. (Former president, Viktor Yushchenko and prime -minister Yulia Tymoshenko are among the most visible figures.)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is not ethnic or ethnically motivated. Millions of Russians and Ukrainians share family ties. This conflict is an ongoing struggle of Ukrainian people for political independence, preservation of their cultural identity, and home. This conflict is fueled by ideology difference: autocracy vs. democracy. This war reaches beyond Ukraine, impacting many struggling democracies around the world and encouraging dictators to tighten their grip. Will Ukraine win? It depends. What do we mean by winning? Ukrainian army is winning battles, Ukrainian people are winning our hearts, Ukrainian president is winning on global stage. Ukraine will win if we all stand together against aggression, violence, and tyranny. If we fail to stand together, this war is far from over.

How to fast
I close with the reminder that fossil fuel is outdated and that Pipeline 3 investors can transformed and reinvested into clean and earth-friendly energy for the 21st century. Here are words of hope from Paul Hoffman, a Como Park neighborhood resident:
We all need hope, perspective and vision to move ahead in our lives and improve, both ourselves and the world around us. This has been even more important these past two years of upheaval and trauma due to the pandemic, social discord and now war... Spring is a time of rebirth, opportunity and sunshine. This year we have a convergence of Lent/Easter, Ramadan, Purim and Passover, all framed with spectacular full moons and the first days of spring bathed in life-giving sunshine. Connected with some of these religion practices is the tradition of fasting, which is not about deprivation and sacrifice but rather an opportunity to reflect, re-focus, align and integrate. To that end, I am [sharing] “How to Fast,” which my mother gave a few years ago, which contains simple, concise and powerful perspectives on how to direct our consciousness in the direction of improvement, tolerance and healing.

by William Arthur Ward
Fast from judging others; Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from apparent darkness; Feast on the reality of light.
Fast from thoughts of illness; Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; Feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from anger; Feast on patience.
Fast from worry; Feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from negatives; Feast on positives.
Fast from complaining; Feast on appreciation.
Fast from hostility; Feast on nonresistance.
Fast from bitterness; Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from anxiety; Feast on hope,
Fast from yourself; Feast on a silent heart.

Keep the positive vibrations flowing, stay optimistic, dream, and visualize the world you want to see and live in, now and in the future!
May Peace Be In the Rondo, Frogtown, Hamline/Midway, Como, and Surrounding Communities...
May Peace Be In Our Homes & Communities…
May Peace Prevail On Earth (MPPOE)!
BE SMART! DO YOUR PART! Get Your Vaccination Shots and Booster Shots if you feel comfortable doing so!!!


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