Streams Of Images From 1971

Young White Male In Black Neighborhood

John O'Neill
2 min readJul 9, 2022


Photo by Tito Texidor III on Unsplash

It was 1971, in Buffalo, New York. Damage from race riots was still in evidence. I was a Jesuit novice, tutoring in a school, and mentoring a youth group. In the outside world, the VietNam War raged on. For more background see,

I Was On A Mission To Teach But I Had So Much To Learn | by John O’Neill | Jun, 2022 | Medium

Where were You when we were getting hung from trees?

Give me your money, your power, your influence, and sacred magic, but keep your charity.

Cities burning, self-hatred is very destructive.

An unconscionable inheritance given to each child.

Black is beautiful, but damn, it is hard

An owl atop his temple surveying his treasures.

An elderly woman brings flowers to her husband’s grave.

The rays of the sun reflected on a clear lake.

A black child touches the skin of a white child, and with question resolved, smiles. The gesture is reciprocated.

Citadels of justice that crucify society’s victims.

Cities that choke and abound with stagnant waters.

Every person treated alike, all are strangers.

The state of the union is: fog, wind, and rain, with little relief in sight.

Crickets rhapsodically hailing another evening.

The colors of a rainbow signaling hope for a fresh beginning.

Orchids and roses arousing even nature’s senses.

An eagle soaring majestically in the sky. Symbol or mockery?

Schools that bend, twist, push, stamp and suffocate.

Modern Scribes and Pharisees heaping burdens upon people whom they are supposed to serve.

Walls of cynicism and fear to protect against self-immolation.

Legions recruited to fight for country against God.

Soldiers sacrificed in a needless war. Others left with scars that will never heal, only to be treated with scorn upon their return.

A single mother goes back to school so that her children may have a better life.

Migrant families with stoic elegance creep merely to a prideful poverty.

After years of wandering, a man falls on his knees and finally starts to listen.

An addict broken and near despair begs for help, and it is provided.

Having the fountain of youth within him, an old priest continues to reach out and heal, one person at a time.

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

I Was On A Mission To Teach But I Had So Much To Learn | by John O’Neill | Jun, 2022 | Medium



John O'Neill

Retired human services executive, living in Massachusetts near Boston, trying to be a better human being each day than the day before.