Utila, Hurricane, Copan Ruinas
I decided to get two last morning dives in before leaving Utila for Copan Ruinas but when our dive boat reached shore, all boats were docked due to Hurrican Dean. Most on the island were confident that the last afternoon boat would get out however the wind and rain moved in faster than expected. I quickly checked back into Rubi´s Inn and picked up food and water from the local groceria just in case the storm knocked out the island electricity for days. When the storm hit, the winds proved strong blasting water over docks and shore however Dean was much weaker than expected here and little damage occurred.
The next day I jumped on the 6am boat to La Ceiba with mi amigos Ivan and Jose de Espana and Tirsa de Holland. We were all heading in the same direction so we decided to travel together. Hooking up with other travelers is ideal and common because it reduces travel expenses significantly. After a 7 hour taxi ride from La Ceiba, we reached Copan Ruinas, which is the connection point to Guatemala and El Salvador and where we would all go our separate ways. Copan Ruinas is also famous for its Mayan Ruins as well.
The next morning, mi amigos left muy temprana however I stayed to explore the ruins. During mi desayuno, I ran into Luke de St. Thomas, an amigo I met in Utila while diving. We decided to explore the ruins together, which offered incredible structures, pyramids, sculptures, tunnels and amazing views! Copan is an amazing place and a very beautiful town that is not to be missed when traveling through Honduras.
Tomorrow I am off to El Salvador to explore the land few travel to. They are also famous for the food pupusas, which mi amiga Lili introduced me to years ago! They’re great and my mouth is already watering!
Muchas gracias for checking in! Hasta lluego!!
Hola amigos! Thank you for joining me on the Aventura de Centro America!
There’s an old saying in Utila about people who travel here. They say, “I’m leaving tomorrow,” but they never do. People seem to stay longer than they had planned, which is the case for me too.
After exploring much of Utila during the past few days, I decided to stay and get my open water scuba certification to explore the sites here below the surface. First I had to pick the right dive shop to do this. After talking with several local Utilans and dive instructors, I chose Paradise Divers Dive Shop. Why? Simple, they’re the friendly dive shop outcasts (and I mean that in a good way) with an overall bohemian feel unlike any other dive shop on the island. They are also the only dive shop here that refuses to join an association of dive shops that determines and maintains pricing across the board, which makes Paradise Divers the top budget friendly dive shop on the isle. As you can imagine, with this defiant stance comes criticism and scare tactics from other competitors, which only inspired me more to join the bohemian fun at PD!
It was the perfect choice after meeting my dive instructor Tullio Divona de Milano, Italy, which is an area of Italy not too far from my Italian ancestry. Joining me on the four day diving adventure was mi amigos Jonathan Ziegler de Germany, Yannick Mantele de Germany, Iban Aguillera and Jose Luis Delgado de Espana, and three other master divers Pierre de France and Daniel and Alejandro de Espana. It was truly an honor diving with these men!
Overall, we did four amazing dives, witnessing corals, all kinds of tropical fish, sponges, other marine life and a gigantic sea tortuga. On our final dive we went to the north side of the island in 15 foot waves to search for huge whale sharks but we came up empty. We did however experience the plunging wall, which feels like you’re stepping off into a bottomless canyon. An amazing sensation!
The trips on the dive boat were exciting as well. Another group of divers joined us on our third and fourth dives and the girls started a dive boat salsa dance party, which was quite fun. Another thing I liked is that we could sit or stand anywhere we desired on the boat - from hanging off the sides to sitting up front where there were no rails. A bit dangerous possibly and quite different than the other competitors but a hell of a lot of fun!
Tullio exuded a charisma and confidence that kept all of us comfortable above and below the surface. The group of men I dove with bonded and we all supported and helped each other throughout the training and dives. Hopefully one day we will dive again!
If you ever find yourself in Utila, jump on the Paradise Divers Dive Shop experience, you won’t regret it!
Also, if you are looking for a great place to stay, Rubi’s Inn sits right on the Caribbean with spotless updated rooms with kitchen access for 15 bucks per night. Ask for mi amigo Tony.
Tomorrow I leave Utila…well I think I will, and have yet to determine where to go to next. So, stay tuned for the next story of the Aventura de Centro America.
For more on thedetroiter.com’s fearless traveler Remi Esordi, please see here.
Profile of Creative Designs & Signs, Inc
The 13th Annual Woodward Dream Cruise has come to pass. On Saturday, August 18th, over 40,000 classic cars pumped in and out of the region like a cyclic infestation of cicadas – the culmination of months of planning and one short weekend of festivities. Now gone, Detroiters take stock of what remains to show for it.
How can we measure the civic and cultural impact of this nationally acclaimed, people’s auto show? The communal pride of widespread adrenaline can be best understood by a proliferation of knock-off auto-related t-shirts sold at curbside stands. The economic benefit of 1.7 million visitors in a weekend (according to the official Dream Cruise website) is certainly profound, albeit short-lived. These are undeniable impacts; however, one of Detroit’s true reaping of the cruise comes from a small and underrepresented virtue of the area’s civic fabric – a mom and pop shop that takes pride in an artful sense of charm, personality, and professionalism.
Creative Designs & Signs is a five-employee sign shop one block from the loop at downtown Pontiac. Most of its business comes by word-of-mouth. Despite the fact that some of its clients have grown to include Waterford School District and the City of Ferndale, much of the work over its 27-year existence has been for small new businesses, architects, general contractors, and people like you and me. One of its biggest notches to date was recently (and practically in secret) unveiled for this year’s Dream Cruise - the installation of six 8x15ft stainless steel etched panels of automotive-related historic Detroit on the bridge at 8 Mile and Woodward.
The images that were transferred to the steel panels cast a touch of history and nostalgia as daily reminders of what is undoubtedly the most recognizable regional brand – Motor City. There are two panels on 8 Mile under the bridge: a shot of autos in downtown Ferndale from the 1960s and a scene of the bridge’s original construction during 1956-57. There are four other panels on the service drives to and from Woodward: of trolley cars, an interurban bus, a police officer directing traffic, and the early years of Ambassador Bridge.
In the fall 2006, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) began a $17 million reconstruction of the 50-year old bridge at the Detroit-Ferndale border. They successfully completed the project on-time - which included new decks, pavement, and guardrails - just days in advance of the 2007 Dream Cruise. But let’s not forget that MDOT does not work alone.
Creative Designs & Signs won the sub-contract to administer the beautification portion of the bridge’s redevelopment project, which included three main services - to transfer images of historic automotive Detroit to the stainless steel etched panels, to build the 1500 lb quarter-inch thick steel frames, and to install them on-site at the bridge.
Owners and designers Al and Jody La Londe said that it was a simple project…in theory. “What made it challenging was the weight of the components,” Jody said, “and handling them.” It was their largest job, which begs the question: how does such a small design and sign shop win this bid? “Because we were able to fabricate and install the panels,” Jody said. “(MDOT) originally was looking at three different companies to pull it off – one to fabricate the frames, another to fabricate the panels, and yet another to install (them).”
So, for a mom and pop shop, where to from here? Jody had to say, “Last year we did the intersection of Woodward and 9 Mile. We would love to work our way through the cities up Woodward and end with doing a big splash in Pontiac!”
The mission on their website reminds us “your sign is your image.” No one can argue that automobile history is a valued image of the area. The particular care given to the long-term beautification of such a dynamic intersection (and region) can make any Detroiter proud. Kudos to the little guy – for rising to the occasion and leaving us with a truly lasting impression from this year’s Dream Cruise.
Creative Designs & Signs, Inc is located at 146 Cesar E. Chavez Rd, Pontiac.
(248) 334-5580, or www.creativedesigns-signs.com
David Bartone is a published historian, poet, and short fiction writer. He is Poetry & Fiction Editor for thedetroiter.com. He knows a good sign when he sees one. He lives in Pontiac with his cat, Hey Molly.
We received a lot of responses to our editorial responding to the recent Detroit News story and headline about the state of the Detroit Arts scene. We are pleased to offer an outlet for the voices of the community and share a few of these responses below. – Nick Sousanis
I’ve always believed that the struggle to create your own work comes first and foremost. Yet following right behind, is the need to encourage and support your peers and fellows.
This can be done by working hard to help run a venue (as I do with the Zeitgeist). That helps. But above and beyond that I feel one needs to be a positive force in one’s day to day life. Are we going to be part of the problem or part of the solution?
Not everyone can aspire to being a “sparkplug” or catalyst. Yet little things add up, in how we decide to LIVE.
In July 1995 in the AGENDA Arwulf Arwulf wrote a controversial article about the late Jacques Karamanoukian. It was titled “Art Without a Profit Motive.” This perspective is important to a significant number of artists.
There’s a group of us who stand in extreme opposition to the type of art written about in that Detroit News articles. What, for us, is part of the tip of the iceberg, many see as the “be all and end all.” What counts is the work and the lives of those who create it.
It’s good to sell art, even urgent if you have no day job. Galleries need to sell, at least somewhat, or they’ll end up closing. Yet, there’s a strong contigent living their art for the love of art. Then, between these two extremes, are thousands of people, at least.
Having narrow and distorted definitions of art, and giving them prominence in a newspaper doesn’t help matters at all.
Maurice Greenia, Jr.
4th Street/ Zeitgeist/University of Detroit Mercy
I just got back from NYC where I was attending a conference. On Saturday I went over to the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, a gallery space not unlike the Russell Industrial Center (though older, dating back to the Civil War) where artists have a series of changing group shows. The work wasn’t any better than what’s on view in Detroit. Some of the artists in that show have been kicking around New York for a couple of decades without gallery representation or patronage. The quality or even the quantity of art in a local scene doesn’t really have much relation to the market even in a place like New York. Apparently the person who wrote the News article doesn’t know much about art in Detroit or anywhere for that matter, and it shows. The question I have is why the News even bothers. If they don’t give a shit about art, then why even cover it? My only answer is that they must want to portray negativity either to pander to an audience they think is ignorant or to wage a war on culture. Nick is right that we should just forget the News. They’re simply a propaganda machine. Alternative news is something we have to build for, of, and by ourselves. It’s no accident that communication and community have the same Latin root.
– Vince Carducci
Hi Ms Marte,
Contrary to your article’s assertion that our art scene is fading, it’s in a rising ascendancy. Several galleries are celebrating significant anniversaries: Dell Pryor Gallery, Detroit Artist Market, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, Zeitgeist Gallery, Susanne Hilberry, Sherry Washington Gallery, and Lawrence St. Gallery, to name a few, have been in existence ten or more years.
Several newer venues that are now enriching our cultural community include the Paramount Bank’s Community Arts Gallery, Neal Davis Gallery, Detroit Industrial Projects, Gallery Project, River’s Edge Gallery, Biddle Gallery, Paul Kotula Projects, HATCH Collective Gallery, Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit(gallery), Future Artists and Musicians Gallery, and 555 Studio/Gallery; again, just to name a few.
These venues reaffirm that Detroit’s cultural community (which should not be defined by political borders!) is on the rise. Yes, our arts community has survived through some serious economic declines and as a result has devised strategies to cope with periods of lagging economic support(such as the Ben Franklin Project, devising more flexible art pricing and purchasing methods, and when possible, presenting exhibitions in public spaces); also not to be overlooked are those who have created online galleries or presences.
I do not believe any of these venues are run or created by people who aren’t cognizant of the cultural climate that pervades our community. They are attuned to the positive and dynamic changes that are now taking place and sense a growing economic prosperity. A knowing sense that economic down and upswings are just as prevalent in New York’s or Chicago’s art communities (and no doubt, on down swings, someone wails that the art community is dying!) as ours. Yet theirs, like ours, have and continue to adapt, survive, and like dandelions, thrive.
Time, it seems clear, that that writer hasn’t spent yet – and no doubt editorial policy at the paper does not encourage writers to take that time. -Nick Sousanis
When Jonnelle first called it was a Thursday about a month ago. You know me: I filled her with Changing Cities. And positive efforts all over. Mitch’s new place (Design.99). The Carriage House. Davin’s effort with UFO. And all the artists who are choosing to stay. And gave their phone numbers and emails to her.
We ended with me asking: So, when will this be coming out? And she answered: Tomorrow. Wow I said. Good luck. That was weeks ago.
So I contacted everyone and warned them if she called to pump her full of goodness for the art’s scene. They’ve since told me that they did exactly that. Despite leading questions.
She called back again last Thursday. A month later. Told me it would be coming out Friday. So she had all the time in the world and probably could’ve taken more with it if she so chose.
She wrote me back after I let her know how disappointed I was with her slant: she told me it was one-sided because she had space constraints.
(In terms of time not spent, I was referring to the sort of time not just to write a thorough story, but to be immersed in the community in which one is writing. And while the time to achieve the first may have been there, neither has actually occurred.- Nick)
Dear Ms. Marte,
As there are artists who leave Detroit, there are artists who remain. There are many reasons why artists remain in Detroit: family, jobs, huge studio spaces that are unaffordable in other cities. The artists are here, but the reach of their work extends far beyond Detroit. There are artists here who have participated in prestigious international residencies (Scott Hocking, Miroslav Cukovic, Ed Fraga, Kathleen McShane), artists who have gallery representation in New York, Chicago and California (Steve Magsig, Janet Hamrick, Susan Goethel Campbell, Mel Rosas, Christine Hagedorn) and artists whose work will be featured in career retrospectives in Michigan museums (Jim Nawara, Lois Teicher). All of these artists live, and work hard, here in Detroit. If you are unaware of these artists (and there certainly are many others), perhaps your editor will allow you the opportunity to present their accomplishments to the Detroit community. Your recent Detroit News article did not come close to telling the whole story of the Detroit art scene.
Like sports and entertainment, art has become a big business where performance - too often mediocre in the long run – can be overly compensated while honorable, hard working aspirants toil their hearts out not for the love of money but in answer to an unceasing calling.
Detroit’s visual and performing artists have few support structures that can nurture their success, though galleries like Liberal Arts, Biddle, Biegas, CAID, Zeitgeist, 555, 4731, etc…and the underground art news media (Nick Sousanis’ thedetroiter.com, James Dozier, Bryant Tillman, MetroTimes, Real Detroit) are trying.
However, the artists pretty much are in it alone and despite the individual artist’s talent and desire, collectors, connoisseurs and other lovers of art are not encouraged sufficiently to purchase Detroit work. Certainly not by the national art rags, the Detroit Free Press or the Detroit News neither of which has an art critic, nor the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau which could be promoting visits to the aforementioned galleries, studio collectives, art associations and other “cool cities” venues that in the aggregate are extensive and show the work of many fine artists.
The argument that Detroit does not create collectible art is nonsense. The artists who have moved out are selling the same work in other cities. What we don’t have is a publicly recognized art champion, someone who can create awareness, differentiate the broad array of styles and interpret the chaotic, raw style indicative of the area.
Detroit is a tough town and not for the faint of heart, but oppressive conditions generally induce the creative class to make statements about those conditions (Tyree Guyton, Jack Johnson and Tim Burke comes to mind). I remind that all art movements (Impressionism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Pop) originated by upset.
Because naïve reporters, their followers and other do not accept or understand the Detroit art scene, does not mean it has vanished or is drying up. What has dried up are corporate opportunities and sales to wanna-be collectors whose money is tied up in real estate.
There are many good artists in town selling at well below the tens of thousands of dollars commanded elsewhere. That a few high-end galleries cannot make sufficient profit, and some artists have relocated to the art districts of major cities does not a fading art scene make.
All I can say, to Ms. Marte or anyone else who is determined to document the death throes of an art community as they survey the local scene, is… if this is dying, where do I sign up? With more new spaces to visit than I can make time for, more shows to see and artists to meet than I can hope to keep track of, this is the most animated corpse I’ve ever encountered. I suggest we all adopt as our municipal motto the 1929 Edgar Leslie lyric, “T’aint no sin to take off your skin and dance around in your bones.”
I arrived in Utila! The island of scuba diving and more!! I landed first in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and then immediately took a 3 hour bus ride through the jungle where the air con broke down. We had an hour wait before another bus with working air con came to our rescue. We continued on to La Ceiba, a seaport town, which is the connection point to the Bay Islands - Utila.
I originally planned on Roatan, the largest and most popular of the Bay Isles but was quickly convinced by Daniella and Antonela, mi amigas from Italy, that Utila would be a better bet due to its backpacker – budget friendly rates and overall bohemian feel.
They were correcto! Utila is beautiful, offering crystal clear Caribbean blue, some of the cheapest scuba diving rates in the world, seaside rooms under $15 per night, incredibly warm people and great food! What more could a guy ask for?!
Last night I checked out Tranquila, a seaside deck bar that sits over the Caribbean. I met and spoke with many locals and travelers that have been here for months, while sipping on a gin and tonic. It seems to be one of those places that some have difficulty leaving. On the downside, there has been an outbreak of Dengue Fever on the island and several locals said the drink gin and tonic actually fends off mosquitoes, which quickly made the drink my premier choice.
I spent the day earlier walking around Utila checking on dive school rates. I’m considering jumping into a PADI certification course. There are many schools, many options, each one better than the others according to each school, which made my quest a bit overwhelming. I’m also considering heading to Roatan but am not certain at this time. If I jump into a scuba course here, I’m here for the next 4 days but if not, I could be anywhere!!
I’ve included three fotos of life here on Utila - a sunset from my hotel, a laid back gato and the town itself!
Thanks for checking in and stay tuned for the next update of Aentura de Centro America!
After wrestling an Anaconda, exploring the “secret to life” through Ayahuasca, and surviving a unrelenting Parasite during his Amazon Adventure last summer, Detroit Actor / Photographer, Remi Esordi, will be leaping into the unknown on a three week journey through Central America, or as much of Central America as he can cover in 3 weeks, while photo-documenting and blogging his adventures in the virtual pages of www.thedetroiter.com
Esordi is passionate about exploring unfamiliar terrain because as he states: “unfamiliar terrain represents a mystery, the unknown, a space that promotes questioning, self-awareness and discovery. It is this space that makes me feel most alive!” Esordi learned long ago that breaking free of monotony and routine is a must to self-awareness and discovery, which is why he chose the incredibly diverse terrain of Central America to be his next Adventure!
Central America is the ultimate adventure because it offers a widely diverse terrain ranging from Caribbean beaches, Shark Diving, Volcanoes that can be climbed, the jungle life, Spanish Colonial Towns, larger than life Rodents, Monkeys, Mayan Pyramids, Mayan Life, Garifuna Villages and more!
Esordi will depart in early August and meet up with an old actor friend from New York in Honduras to experience an open water shark dive. From there, Esordi will rely on instincts, intuition and environment to inform him of what direction to move in next. Whatever the experience Esordi encounters, you will have to log into www.thedetroiter.com to view the images and blogs of his daily/weekly adventures. He promised us at www.thedetroiter.com not to include a photo of him making out with a monkey like he did during last year’s Amazon adventure.
Remi Esordi has served on the faculties of the Theatre and Communication Departments of Brooklyn College and Long Island University (CUNY) in New York City and the English / ESL Department of Cyber University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea. He is currently the Program Facilitator and Artist in Residence for VSA Arts of Michigan. Esordi holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Acting from Brooklyn College.
**A photography exhibit of Remi Esordi’s Aventura de America Central will be highlighted at the Johanson Charles Gallery, in the Eastern Market, Detroit, MI during the month of December, 2007.
“I read the news today, oh boy.” The Beatles
With an oddly cheerful font, the recent Detroit News headline blared out, “Detroit’s Art Scene Fades.” Really?! This development came as quite a shock to me. All the evidence I knew of pointed to quite the contrary. Even though it was August (typically a slow month for art exhibitions), I was once again faced with more shows than I had time to write about (just of those I’d had a chance to see, never mind all the others I hadn’t), leaving me with the always difficult choice of what to leave out. It sure seems like the arts scene was doing anything but fading.
Did the people at the News perhaps know something I didn’t?
I’ve been covering the arts in Detroit for five years now and in that time, if anything, there is only a marked increase in the art offerings in the area. Our arts calendar editor Tom Carbone has his hands full every week just trying to make sure not one event gets left out. It’s a huge job. The map of Detroit area art spaces we created last spring (see it online here and here) lists nearly one hundred venues for viewing work. It’s an impressive picture of the richness of spaces that comes as a surprise to even people in the know about such things. When we come out with an updated map this September, while there will subtractions (I know of only one for sure at this point), there will be many more additions. (Including one I work for.)
And what about the artists themselves? From former industrial buildings crammed full with studios to individual lofts, basements, garages, and what have you – they’re everywhere, and they are active. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to and interviewing this community – and the consistent impression they share is that of a city that’s rich with possibilities. Where others can only see blight and decay, Detroit artists see the city as fertile soil, an incredible source of raw materials from which to create. With abundant cheap work space and cross-over of materials and craftsmanship from the industrially dense area, Detroit is an amazing place to make art. It is teeming with individuals making the most of the conditions here that make it all possible. That said, it has never been the best of places to sell art, but this is not new, and certainly not news. It’s never stopped anyone serious about making work here and it won’t. Of course, better private and public support for the arts would be great and is certainly needed. How to make this happen are the sorts of challenges we face as a community and the sort of thing the papers should be interested in covering.
So, if then, there are a lot of artists hard at work, a plethora of places showing their work, and new ones popping up all the time, what exactly is the News talking about?
It is, at its best, irresponsible journalism. Despite that statement, I have a hard time shouldering the entire blame on the reporter. The arts scene is difficult to know. It’s tricky to get a handle on the landscape. Places are pretty spread out – you can’t go door to door from art space to art space, which means it takes a great deal of time to get to know all that’s going on. Time, it seems clear, that that writer hasn’t spent yet – and no doubt editorial policy at the paper does not encourage writers to take that time. There’s plenty going on here, it’s just that these are stories have to be unearthed, uncovered, discovered. Which brings me to the mission of thedetroiter.com, week in and week out we’re devoted to, “unearthing a great American city one story at a time.”
As I said, keeping up with it all is hard work. It takes time to get to know the people, to be a part of the community you’re out to serve. When I started out, I didn’t know much about what was going on all around me. In venturing into places and asking questions, over time, I’ve gotten a better handle on the terrain. But the landscape is constantly shifting and there are always new stories waiting to be unearthed just around the corner. Once upon a time, the News was on top of all of it – in fact, they did so and did it well for 60 years. With Joy Colby on the beat for that entire time (!), the arts community had a true champion who kept in touch with what was happening and conveyed it to a sizable audience. This meant for much of her tenure, regular columns and a weekend magazine section devoted to the arts. Are Detroiters less creative today? Is there less work being made here than before? Absolutely not. It’s not the arts that are fading – it’s the news media that is fading, that has let us down. In the process of being bought and sold as many times as the papers have, the idea of serving the community has been lost in the shuffle.
So that’s that. If the paper can write the community off, perhaps we should think about writing the paper off.
Support your local Artist
This failure of the media does not mean that the community can’t have that public discourse so essential to its health – it only reinforces the desperate need for independent media (see our recent editorial on this topic.) If the media won’t help us, we just have to do it ourselves. The lack of coverage is why thedetroiter.com came into being, and why other Internet-based things like Dozier’s arts mailings and Ann Gordon’s arts blog have been such vital sources for information. Now, I’m not suggesting everyone run out and start their own listing, blog, or web-magazine, but we can contribute just by supporting what is already out there.
There’s work to be done here, yes – building community ain’t easy. It starts with being well-informed yourself. We might liken this to the instructions in case of loss of cabin pressure on an airplane – “put your own mask on first and then assist others around you.” In this case, get informed, give yourself that breath of life, and then share it.
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned and continue to learn all the time here. I feel privileged to get to write about so many people in this community over the years and bear witness to such displays of creativity and possibility. And I’m glad to be able to share it – to act as a guide of sorts to this dynamic landscape. This is an incredibly vibrant, active community. One just needs to know where to look. – Nick Sousanis
Your turn: The article in question stirred up a lot of thoughts in the arts community. We’d love to hear your take on it. So drop us a line, and next week in this space, we’ll run some of your thoughts and comments in this space. – Nick
I’ve been thinking about bus stops a lot lately. There’s one right outside where I work. It has no shelter, so people waiting for the bus gather on the stairs of the building seeking a bit of rest and cover. I don’t wait with them for the bus. When I’m ready to leave work, I walk out the door straight to my car parked down the street, and then go on my way. On the way to the car, I pass by them, sometimes we exchange pleasantries, sometimes a nod, and for the most part, that’s about it.
In our feature story this week, writer Dolores Slowinski points out that, “racism is learned,” and is brought about by fear of the unknown – fear of the Other. Separation between people leads to a lack of understanding, which leads to fear, which leads to racism, which leads to more separation.
A vicious cycle.
When accused of having racist tendencies, people respond defensively (and probably truthfully), “But I have plenty of Black/White/… friends.” But we don’t know the people at bus stops, because we don’t live in the same neighborhood, our kids don’t go to the same schools, and we don’t sit with them and wait to ride with them from here to wherever there is.
Racism has been with us since one group of people discovered another group living over a ridge or on another continent that didn’t look quite like what they were familiar with. Today, while we may live only blocks away, we still often remain worlds apart in terms of understanding.
It’s a cycle born out of separation and fear that can only be broken out of coming together with courage. And the first step to doing so is in understanding just how similar we all are and how the freedom of all people is inextricably bound together. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose name graces the street of this shelterless bus stop I walk by each day, “We cannot walk alone.” – Nick Sousanis