For those of you familiar — it was eight years ago that I first taught myself to blog. Directly inspired by an incoming President (our first-ever social media President), who was using new technology in amazing and wonderful new ways to reach out to folks. Many of us reluctantly got onto FB, not understanding, yet, this need to share so much of our lives...
So. A whole lot has changed since then. But a seed of inspiration was actually planted in me much earlier, through the audacity of a random speech I heard in 2004. By an unknown Senator from my former home, Chicago. I'm listening to it now, 2017, for the first time since 2004, even as I write this.I was living in Florida, as an Art Director at Disney, when this speech aired live.
I was in the other room in my apartment, and was literally lured into the living room by the motivating, inspiring, passionate tone of someone... a politician? Well, this was a first (in my lifetime). And as I sat on the edge of my sofa listening to a man, whose name I couldn't pronounce... I recall thinking — no, KNOWING — “he's going somewhere. I don't know what, or how, or when, but keep an eye on this guy, he's gonna do great things.”In 2005, I moved up to DC after 3 major hurricanes (Charlie and others) had hit Florida.
After my move, late summer, I began work as an Art Director at Discovery Channel. My cable wasn't hooked up yet, but I kept hearing about a hurricane heading to New Orleans. I didn't have any scope of what was about to unfurl. When I saw it I was stunned. Heartbroken. And through a group at my church, we went down afterward to help and we saw the damage to the lower 9th ward. Wrenching.Fast forward to January 20, 2009.
|2009 Inauguration, |
Quilt of Quotes
In frigid temps, I left my house at 3am to attend my first-ever Presidential inauguration. A VERY high bar was set, indeed. I created a Quilt of Quotes, to ‘bring’ my friends and family in spirit with me to the event. And I remember every single thing about that day.
I remember feeling the history of the moment. Envisioning old wooden wheeled carts pulled by horses over the National Mall. As I stood on the hill of the Washington Monument looking toward the Capitol. This was the song we sang: Yes we can. I remember compassion. Hope. The support of folks who came here from OTHER countries to witness this event: Ireland, Italy, Australia, Germany. Unprecedented.Now we are eight years on.
I try to live with no regrets. “Just do it.” So, for those of you familiar with my flower collecting, whether I get one or not, I’ve asked President Obama for a flower sketch. I even asked Prince for one after seeing him in June, 2015. That was not to be. But I asked.
But another thing I wanted to do, I did complete this week: I visited the National Museum of African American History & Culture (this was my second visit, but first to the lower level/history). It was so important to me to have completed my visit(s) to this museum — before the end of this President’s term was up.That day will happen exactly two weeks from today. And lot of uncertainty lies ahead...
Ironically the quote I added to the my own 2009 quilt was: “today we are walking through the pages of our history books.” I think we will be doing that again, but most definitely a different vibe than 2009 and 2013. Like a 180º different vibe...
With the angst of this past year, the [hidden] Contemplation room (left of the cafe, lower lever) was overwhelmingly cathartic. Like falling tears:
But when I walked through the lower part of this museum Wednesday. To see “our” history. It was clear to me this is not just black history, white folks have to own this, too. Created much of it. Caused it. But it is our collective history — but a black history that has not been spoken of. Not included in the history books I read. It's an amazing museum — such thoughtful detail. Painful AND beautiful things. So much — TOO MUCH — that I didn't even know about. And I'm so immensely grateful that the museum is here, finally. For all to see.Two moments that got me, Wednesday at The Museum.
As I stood near part of the exhibit with elements from the 1949s-50s, many KKK items. I struck up a brief but powerful connection with two beautiful women. They were up here from Florida and a bit into our chat, I said, “I just wish none of this had ever happened.” And tears just welled up and fell, and fell, and fell. All three of us. Strangers. And my hope is restored, in that, as a human, a woman, and here these two black women and me, a white woman — that we each felt the same thing. Horror. But hope.I think the unexpected moment for me, however, was there would be a second gush of tears to come.
This time I was solo.
I was nearing the end of the exhibit, they have an area showcasing the decades. And just past the 80s (with chairs from Oprah’s Harpo Studios, the big ghetto blasters with Run DMC) was a wall of images/screens — much like our over stimulated lives. It was the 2000s.
Katrina, Obama, Trayvon. How is this still happening. And the tears came... and it was also the power of music. John Legend and Common’s GLORY pierced in and grabbed my heart and squeezed it — then it pumped me up.
I knew what I needed to do.
|Eight years later. Went back|
to my Inauguration spot.
I recommend this catharsis for anyone able to go back to “your spot.” Fill up. Remember that feeling you had in 2009. Remember that audacity of hope. Remember things in that museum — we shall continue to overcome. And, this past very windy cold Wednesday, I stood with noone around staring at the Capitol, taking in all that has unfolded. And BLASTED this on my music as I stood in that space, with the wind blowing our American flags straight out as bold as they can fly. I love this country. I'm proud to be an American (with all our warts and beauty). And I will move forward in this already great nation.... with the audacity of hope. Keep on reaching.God bless America. Please.
GloryCommon & John Legend
One day when the glory comes , It will be ours, it will be ours, Oh one day when the war is won We will be sure, we will be sure , Oh glory (Glory, glory) Oh (Glory, glory) Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon Formed against, yes glory is destined , Every day women and men become legends , Sins that go against our skin become blessings , The movement is a rhythm to us, Freedom is like religion to us , Justice is juxtapositionin' us Justice for all just ain't specific enough , One son died, his spirit is revisitin' us, Truant livin' livin' in us, resistance is us, That's why Rosa sat on the bus, That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up , When it go down we woman and man up, They say, "Stay down", and we stand up Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up, King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up
One day when the glory comes, It will be ours, it will be ours , Oh one day when the war is won , We will be sure, we will be sure , Oh glory (Glory, glory), Oh (Glory, glory) Now the war is not over, victory isn't won, And we'll fight on to the finish, then when it's all done We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory), Oh (Glory, glory) , We'll cry glory, oh glory (Glory, glory) Oh (Glory, glory) Selma's now for every man, woman and child , Even Jesus got his crown in front of a crowd, They marched with the torch, we gon' run with it now , Never look back, we done gone hundreds of miles, From dark roads he rose, to become a hero, Facin' the league of justice, his power was the people , Enemy is lethal, a king became regal, Saw the face of Jim Crow under a bald eagle , The biggest weapon is to stay peaceful , We sing, our music is the cuts that we bleed through Somewhere in the dream we had an epiphany , Now we right the wrongs in history , No one can win the war individually , It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people's energy, Welcome to the story we call victory , The comin' of the Lord, my eyes have seen the glory One day when the glory comes , It will be ours, it will be ours, Oh one day when the war is won , We will be sure, we will be sure , Oh glory (Glory, glory), Oh (Glory, glory) , Oh glory (Glory, glory), Hey (Glory, glory) When the war is won, when it's all said and done , We'll cry glory (Glory, glory) , Oh (Glory, glory)
Written by Che Smith, John Legend, Lonnie Lynn.
Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group