At Alvernia University, we partnered with the Office of Multicultural Engagement and asked, “How does participating in service provide hope?” At times, I have been asked, “Aren’t you just preaching to the choir?” I don’t think that is the case, but even if it were…the truth is, the choir needs encouragement, too. Working for the common good, concern with building community, striving toward justice…these can be lofty goals, tiring work, and when the problems are large, people can become discouraged. […]
“It feels as if every corner of America is running on a steady diet of fear. We’re afraid of guns, of our guns being taken; we’re afraid of our enemies; of our cousins who cancelled out our votes; of brown bodies, black bodies, Muslim bodies; of police, of Democrats, of Republicans, of Christians, of non-Christians; of the fact that our Christian churches are dwindling; we are afraid of men, of women who will tell on men; we are afraid of […]
This morning was an early start. I like to get out of the city before rush hour ramps up. Three sleepy people in a truck. Trailer hitched behind us. All headed west. In 1,529 miles we will be at Holden Village in the Washington Cascades for my fourth year running as part of the teaching staff. My social media stream will be quiet for a couple weeks. There is a lot of community at Holden Village, but not much technology. […]
She walked right up to me. I think she was in 8th grade. “Can I ask you a question?” she wondered. Of course. “Do they cry? These people you interview?” Often, I told her…and so do I. There is something powerful about an open and honest exchange. When you give someone your full attention and make it clear that what they have to say is important, it can be a moving experience. “I’m Syrian,” she said, “and sometimes when I […]
Pardon the broad, sweeping generalizations…but here’s the thing… If all the non-white people are saying, “um…there are some issues we need to discuss regarding race.” And all the white people are saying, “Everything is fine…just get over it and let’s move on.” Then…we might have some work to do regarding race. If you don’t see it, consider who you are talking to about the issue. Last week I was artist-in-residence at the Everyday Democracy convening in Baltimore. I set up […]
Last week we set up a temporary studio and asked students at Rutgers University – Camden to respond to the following prompt: “Tell me a time when someone reached across a divide to build or heal a relationship with you.” Some of the responses are below. You can find the full collection on our Facebook page.
One of the great joys of this project is encountering amazing people across the country and spending time together. We share an intense few hours talking about the big stuff, and then we make a portrait. One of the great challenges is that often I don’t ever see them again. Maybe I feel a bigger connection, because I spend so much time editing their story, but I’m never quite sure if the impact leaves such a big an impression on […]
For the past four years I have worked with 5th graders at FAIR School in Crystal as artist in residence for their Perspectives Program. Each fall we install the exhibit, do a presentation for all 85 students and then over several days, I visit each classroom and work with students to explore their own thoughts about peace. They write their ideas in peace journals which we eventually pass on to a crew of artists from Stages Theater who craft the […]