January 28, 2017

We're Still Staying Together

Maya Angelou and Gloria Steinem, March on Washington (1983)
photo:  Getty Images 
Last weekend this time I had traveled south to Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March, which moved an unprecedented, unanticipated phenomenal national as well as global groundswell.  I was in the company of few good friends, we had hats and posters.  During the drive down we spoke with family and friends who all resounded the same messages of encouragement and hope.  I come from a family and community where the long arm of the  Civil Rights movement of protest and resistance were lived experiences so I did expect the “be safe” comments as well as “we’re proud of you.”  It was unexpected feelings of solidarity that surprised me with them and those we met all along the way. As we headed down late Friday night the roads were jammed, we didn’t stress we were just in awe, passing up crowded rest stops with sighting those pink hats.

Just past midnight we arrived, unpacked and my friends finished up posters on the spot in the living room l
eaving the final touches for before our Saturday morngin departure. We slept for a few hours with new feelings of excitement about the day ahead.  My friends husband made a pot of oatmeal and we all talked in then kitchen moving around getting ready for the day. Before we got on the DC Metro we went to get coffee where we saw others with the same idea and more pink hats.   Our Metro ride was an educational experience as we sat down with an eccentric, wise old-timer who kept our attention.  We also started reading and sharing posters with others on the ride. The day was full with lots of walking, stories, sharing and connecting with all kinds of people from everywhere nodding and making other gestrures of solidarity.

All this week I have been moving my ideas in the power of this experience.  I have been intentional with regard to pressing a few of the emanating points:
  • Identitfy and move on issues that resonate with you.
  • We still will work better together, collectively.
  • Embracing difference builds unique strength for new work.
  • The strength of this moment here must carry us forward over a great distance.
As my Saturday morning starts, I reflect here and well, to catch my breath.  We must show up for what matters. Here's the call:

Clip via @voguemagazine: "And just in case you needed an extra pep talk...with a few of the march organizers—Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, Sarah Sophie Flicker, and Cassady Fendlay—that outlines other ways to make a difference. Whether it’s donating time or money to an organization that defends your rights, volunteering on a local level, or simply isolating the issues that matter most to you, there’s a lot you can do.."  And yes you should read the Vogue magazine article too. 
As women when we stand in solidarity with men, young people and elders in our families and communities.  It's important to recoginize as we say in public health where we live, work, learn, play and pray is the ground to move against all forms of hate as we work for progress for our health and well-being.

Local efforts matter.  It’s remarkable to me that in the last week as I sat down in in meetings and other gatherings institutinoal leaders joined marches and shared their experiences.   While I note the visible numbers (shout out to the the pink hats and yes, I have one) around in Washington, D.C., across our nation and globally — it is the power of a sense of unity felt standing in the midst of it all that remains with me.  

Now on to my Saturday schedule of exercise, research, meet ups and time with family.  Please leave comments with your experience and insight.

January 05, 2017

Seeing the Lines

Carmen Herrera (2013)
On the last day of last year I went with a friend to the Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney) for Carmen Herrara’s exhibit “Lines of Sight” closing on January 9, 2017.  The Whitney is a capacious setting for art as it sits at the southern end of The Highline with phenomenal views of its neighborhood including the Meatpacking District, Chelsea. On a clear day you can see beyond the Freedom Tower down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty.  The visual lines of connection here are phenomenal. Architect Renzo Piano’s Building Workshop moves through history and place to create this transformational space with its scaling outdoor terraces where art installations merge with the city skyline.  “Architecture is that art, the poetry of construction. Every building is a story.  Every building tells a story,” says Renzo Piano.  

On my first visit in January 2016 it was the Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist exhibit and also sculptor Elizabeth Catlett’s work is in the permanent collection moving my attention.  I discovered that The Whitney had returned to the neighborhood of its origins, rejoining local artists and galleries in a downtown Manhattan community among the oldest neighborhoods in New York while also opening its doors to a neighbor, Cuban artist Carmen Herrera.  At 101 years old, Herrera continues to live and work from her modest apartment where her studio is just beyond the living room. 

Herrera emerges with a global intergenerational futuristic lens where her creativity continuest to progress through daily practice. Herrera's work with color and form create artistic lines of connection as her work and life also offer a few notes on well-being:
  • Herrera’s vocation is painting.  It’s important to work at your raison d'etre.
  • Aging in place with family and friends for support is a strategy for healthier living.  Herrera has lived in her apartment for 49 years.
  • Across life span learning new things never grows old, Herrera is an avid reader, she studied architecture in Cuba and trained as an artist in Paris and New York. 
As you start another new year what will you construct in your life to live well?  Do you or will you make time for a creative practice?  Share your experience.