Black Lives Matter


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Late Response

I know my post is a little late in this discussion. I haven't shared any blog articles since my eye surgery in February. February healing time extended into March. (I have so much to catch up on from this!) I worked one day before Covid-19 caused stay-at-home orders. So, I've been home with my family trying to keep them busy during quarantine and keep them safe as three of the four of us have conditions that make us high-risk for Covid-19 to do serious damage for us.

Concerning the Black Lives Matter discussion, I've posted and reflected on my personal pages and have been reading a lot to learn more, but until today I haven't made a business response. I've had discussions with several people too. But I felt like I really needed to take time away from my work getting rolling again to publicly share my reflection. It might help you understand me and also the practices of my business.

Bible Study

I am part of a pretty amazing Bible Study Group. We've had some great chats about the protests and how much suffering people of color endure because of systemic racism in our country and world. We're actually going through a book called Womanist Midrash that I had been planning for awhile by Wilda C. Gafney. It's amazing! It is a good time to reflect on how women and especially women of color might respond to the Scriptures and develops a practice of asking new questions of the Scriptures that lay the foundation for the Bible and engaging the text in a meaningful way.

We always conclude our study by being quiet and listening for what the Holy Spirit may be speaking to us and then we pray for each other. Two weeks ago, we had a socially-distanced study on my patio and got quiet, inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to us. I closed my eyes and had a vision of blades of grass. Then, my view dropped down below the soil to see how the grass roots were all inter-connected. Did you know that the term "grassroots movement" comes from the fact that grass roots spread underground and then spring up in the form of more grass? The work is done below the soil and then it springs up in new life. Then my mind moved to trees being similar. Did you know that trees in danger actually communicate to other trees? If the soil is short on nitrogen, for example, a tree can communicate this to other trees and researchers are beginning to understand that other trees can actually  move those elements via underground root systems to the troubled trees. This is amazing. Nature and creation are amazing. And I saw us as humankind designed to be like these trees or like the grass - sharing everything in common and giving when another has a need.

"The eye of the soul is opening - giving us a view of the sacred in each one of us."

Richard Rhor

Later in the week, I was reading my prayer meditation from the Center for Action in Contemplation. Some of these reflections echoed my vision a few days earlier.

"The eye of the soul is opening - giving us a view of the sacred in each one of us."

Richard Rhor

We are one - given life by the same creator, sharing a common pure spirit of love and the same struggle of sin and self-sufficiency as we try to not need God. Through solidarity, which is made possible by humility, life connections, and dialogue, "we can clearly name the systems that separate us."  We can, together, attempt to learn more than we now know.

This is where we've been in the midst of the protests as a society. We're beginning to recognize and name the systems that separate us. The next step is important - we can't lose momentum!

Richard Rhor said, "We find in ourselves and in the other the true images of God in which we are created and connected."

Paul said, "If one part is hurt, all parts share in the pain! If one part is honored, all parts share in the joy."  (1 Corinthians 12:2)

Paul said, "If one part is hurt, all parts share in the pain! If one part is honored, all parts share in the joy."

1 Corinthians 12:26

My Privilege

It's like my vision of trees and grass and our how we are connected to sustaining each other in life.  This isn't a new idea for me though. It isn't a Black Lives Matter revelation.  I have always felt deeply when people are in pain. My heart aches for people of color who live in fear of being targeted because of their appearance. For years I've tried to read about and understand my life from my position of privilege as a white woman. I was thankful for my art education background as I learned to teach art from a posture of social justice and to unpack images' meanings in society and the messages sent in everything from advertisements to high art. I think that systemic racism is evident in policing, especially in certain areas of our country, but I think that it begins in childhood, education systems, and is evident and reinforced in our mostly segregated schools and churches and places of belonging. These things need to change!

In my photography work, I welcome diversity of all types. In my educational work, I teach about social justice. I know though that I can do more.

My Commitments

I commit to teaching my children actively about the systems of social injustice in the world and about the history and current effects of systemic racism. (We've been having great dinner table conversations.)

I commit to personally donating to reputable causes and charities that help bring about a more equitable society.

I commit to increasing my awareness of how I can stop systemic racism by learning and loving.

I commit to purposefully designing curriculum in my camps and classes that allows young people to learn about injustice in the world and how we can all be part of the solution.

I am committed to listening. I think there is a current danger of being in a competition of who is more woke. I think there are times for confession but that it is so important to be present and listen to the stories of people who have experienced being marginalized. I'm listening.

I commit because I love. I commit because Black Lives Matter.

What am I about?

My business is about providing art opportunities in the Altoona community as well as portraiture photography work. As a creative person, I like to dabble in other areas that allow me to bear witness to others' lives and explore what brings us all together. Though If you would like to follow along, you can check out my last blog article or join my newsletter!


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