Bless this Mess / by Hope A

keep writing number 89 August 2016

keep writing number 89 August 2016

For August's postcard, I knew I would be packing up, forwarding my mail and looking for housing in New Orleans. I had also been cleaning up and getting rid of things that would not fit in the truck (who knew we would be leaving behind even more on out actual moving day). I gave a spirograph to a friend with a pre-schooler. Spirograph had been a part of my 80's childhood and recently I had been inspired by the idea to free hand draw patterns while on a cross-country flight.  I liked the color combination of similar warm colors. I also had been thinking of how to bring attention to the local news, though I plan my postcards 2 months ahead--a few lifetimes in news cycles.  I wanted to acknowledge the difficulties we face as a nation while making a lighter postcard for now.  I was surrounded by the physical disorder of packing, and the mental disorder of daily upsetting news.

Talking about race is important. And difficult. I didn't want to ignore it but I also didn't know what to say that month. So I made a postcard in honor of the messy situations we face that make us stronger, keeping it broad even as the important questions simmer.

Even as I write this, there are protests in North Carolina over another police officer using deadly force against a black person. The stories begin to blur. Unarmed. Asking for assistance with a broken down car. Mentally ill. Unarmed. Deadly force. Deadly. Over and over and over. What will it take to get out of this? Can we re-think the ways we maintain order and safety in our society because our current system of fear, bullying, threat, and incarceration does nothing to lead us to a more compassionate, productive, inclusive society. 

This was supposed to be a post about my friend's tattoo. About feeling a mess in my 20's but now, nearly 40, feeling clearer in my purpose. Then I read the news all day. Keep talking to each other, keep fighting, build the bridges. Burn the monuments to fear and power.

If you want to go down a workhold of numbers and statistics, check out the Guardian's ongoing count of people killed by police.