Staying Open in October

The heaviness of things cannot be denied. A natural response is to close up and hide. And certainly making time for quiet introspection is healthy and necessary. At the same time, moving towards the light of love requires being open. This October I aim to be open to positive possibility.


our visions are ropes

The brilliant adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy (thanks to Ashley Cooper for turning me on to her essential work), recently posted these words:

we are living in impossible times. if it were fiction it would be critiqued as hyperbolic. if it were nightmares we would never sleep.

we are living in times created by our own species. i can’t remember the last time my tears weren’t man-made.

it feels like everything is broken. we must, each of us, fix our attention on the nearest wound, conjure within us the smallest parts of ourselves that are still whole, and be healers. heal with words and prayer and energy, heal with money, clean water, time and action.

there’s enough destruction. there’s enough nothingness swallowing the living world. don’t add to it. there’s enough.

our visions are ropes through the devastation. look further ahead, like our ancestors did, look further. extend, hold on, pull, evolve.


Here are a few articles that have touched me recently, the titles are links.


8 Ways People of Color are Tokenized in Nonprofits
This piece by Helen Kim Ho is a must read if you are white and work in a nonprofit. It is full of devastating truths. Excerpt: “Tokenism is, simply, covert racism. Racism requires those in power to maintain their privilege by exercising social, economic and/or political muscle against people of color (POC). Tokenism achieves the same while giving those in power the appearance of being non-racist and even champions of diversity because they recruit and use POC as racialized props.” Of the 8 Ways Ho lists, one that particularly hit home for me was #2, “Your paid staff in charge of messaging are White, and your volunteer storytellers are POC.” Seriously, this article offers some essential insights.


The Homeless Population in Asheville No One Talks About
HuffPost recently published this powerful piece by BeLoved House‘s Amy Cantrell. Excerpt: “Most people take pictures of Asheville from atop tall buildings to get a skyline view of downtown or from atop one of our beautiful mountains. But what does Asheville look like from the streets? How do our neighbors living on the streets view this place?”

The makers of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual
In this Mountain Xpress story, Alli Marshall features the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, “the nation’s oldest and foremost Native American cooperative,” which I was very glad to learn about.

railroad-workers Black Lives Built Western North Carolina Railroad
The North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library recently shared an often overlooked piece of our local history, drawing heavily from Darin Waters, Ph.D.‘s thesis. In addition to it being the right thing to do, the absolutely key role African Americans played in building Asheville’s economy is yet another reason to boldly and bravely combat the racial disparities that plague our community.

Renaming the [Montford] Community Center for Tempie Avery
This passed at the City Council last night, good news.

Events to attend!

And now for some upcoming events you might be interested in. My friend Lydia See suggested I create a calendar for this blog capturing the events I share, and I have added that to my to-do list. In the meantime….


Bringing it Home: Building a Local Economy for Everyone
The Bringing it Home conference is this Saturday, October 7. The speakers they have lined up are amazing! From their website: This year’s theme: “Connecting the Dots : Working Together for a Stronger, More Equitable Local Economy” with keynote by Deena Hayes-Greene, Managing Director, Racial Equity Institute. Enjoy performances by Word on the Street students, workshops on such topics as “Money, Money, Money,” or “Carrying Out a Built Environment Project,” panels of African American, Latinx and other business owners of color and participate in discussion groups on critical issues facing our community’s and region’s economic progress. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Free breakfast and lunch will be served by a variety of local businesses owned by people of color! Childcare and interpretation available.

Whiteness in Multi-Racial Spaces
Join the Center for Diversity Eduction in welcoming Dr. Sarah Mayorga-Gallo to UNC Asheville as she presents her lecture “How Whiteness Shapes Multiracial Spaces: Lessons Behind the White Picket Fence” on October 12 from 5 pm – 6:30 pm. This event will be held in the UNCA Humanities Lecture Hall and is free and open to the public.

Microagression Training
“Microaggressions can seem harmless on the surface, but are harmful to those that they are directed toward, as they stem from unconscious bias that we carry within us. During this workshop, we will examine the brain science behind bias, how our implicit associations frame the way we view others, and how these biases show up in our daily interactions. We will also examine helpful tools and strategies that can help us address microaggressions in the classroom, with our peers, and in our community.” This event is Tuesday, October 24 at 6:15 pm. Click here to register.


African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference
The Fourth Annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference will be October 19 – 21. It offers scholars and the community an opportunity to address the African American experience in Southern Appalachia. This year’s theme is “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” In addition to history, this year’s conference will highlight research from UNC Asheville’s State of Black Asheville classes, as well as examples of current-day community resilience. The conference is free and open to the public. Details will be posted at

That is surely plenty for today! Thank you for reading. 


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