There was a lot planned for this month’s newsletter. But I felt that with so much going on in our small community and in the country, I needed to address the community instead. I am glad I waited to write this note from the editor. Time gives way to more insight.
After attending the HOT LUCK potluck event post-election at The HUUB Sunday morning, I am in am much better place. Sharing in a safe space with community leaders like Mindy Fullilove, Molly Rose Kaufman, Ray Sykes, Rachel Bland, and Aubrey Murdock among others in the neighborhood was much needed and put a lot into perspective. I have come to many realizations.
The Reality is…Sometimes the Bad Guy Wins
I have been naive and refused to believe that a misogynist and racist could become president of the United States of America. The timing of what has been happening around here in the Valley and the news of our president-elect has given me the opportunity to accept the reality, sometimes the bad guy wins.
Time to Invest in People
In light of recent decisions, I have learned that it is time to see the value in people. Now more than ever it is important to be kind, compassionate and inclusive. Let us think about the endless amounts of talent, the unique voices, the cast of characters that have come and gone. The ones who believed in the missions, and invested time, and more within this community. Whether that be at Ironworks, working years at Hat City Kitchen, or volunteered once or twice at an event. Going into this next phase I want to be the one to say thank you. Thank you for covering a shift, or giving someone a tour, or the ideas that came to us during good conversations at the bar. We need to appreciate the ones around us and come together. That is the only way to move forward, shift our focus to individuals.
The Bottom Line Shouldn’t Be The Only Bottom Line
After learning of the ostensible truth behind nonprofit organization’s mission statements, I want to be the one to say the bottom line, should not be the only bottom line when working with the community. That leaves a void in creating a vibrant , and authentic culture as it leaves some of the most dedicated and energetic participants (who can’t promise thousands of dollars to offer) of the community on the outside. When businesses end or buildings change, who will still be there? The people. Not to mention there are neighboring arts movements that get that. There is competition out there. Slowly our culture dies and becomes lackluster, and dare I say common. Investing in the people who have proven interest in building a future here in the Valley Arts District and the city of Orange adds authenticity, color, character and life to the neighborhood, not to mention serve as the best ambassadors.
What Can We Do to Move Forward
Emotions are high since the news of the election. Americans taking to social media to express themselves. Myself and others talked about how exhausting our news feeds have become with negative content. I know everyone wants to vent but I ask that before you post to social media, think of the old saying, “If you do not have something nice to say, do not say anything at all.” Remember to be kind and compassionate to those around you, it is critical to do so now more than ever. In these times we must band together at the local level.
ABCD training of cities I attended taught me to look at people as assets with gifts to offer. We can not control what the powering organizations are doing, but there are many community initiatives happening locally. I have been fortunate enough to be a community listening fellow at The HUUB (urban ministry at First UU Church of Essex) and we have been working on ways to create programs for local engagement. As well as the Healthy Orange Coalition, Don’t Drop the Mic hip-hop showcase events, True Youth, Inc. and more. I have been attending events in the neighboring arts movements. Like what Linda Street’s Pink Dragon Artist Syndicate is doing in East Orange. She is taking pride in finding the balance between direct East Orange community engagement and attracting visitors. Sign up for the Masconsumption newsletter, The SCENE for more events, programs, and stories, at the pulse of this community and beyond.
A great time for us all to come together again for good fun, fashion and food is the 3rd Annual Valley Gala. Sunday, January 29, 17 at Hat City Kitchen. See more information at www.masconsumption.com/valleygala
Thank you for your continued support.