I sit here gratefully. The snow on the rooftops and trees and hills out my office window delights me. A cardinal on a branch makes my heart leap. The struggle to find quiet and focus is finally complete. It’s time to share contemplations and information with you.
Small is big. Lately I have been savoring adrienne maree brown‘s book, Emergent Strategy (which I am grateful to Ashley Cooper for introducing me to). “Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live” (AK Press).
One of pieces of Emergent Strategy is “Fractals: The relationship between small and large.” Specifically, “How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale. The patterns of the universe repeat at scale. There is a structural echo that suggests two things: one, that there are shapes and patterns fundamental to the universe, and two, that what we practice at a small scale can reverberate at the largest scale.”
We can take a deep breath and sit with that.
This concept resonates deeply with me, as I tend to focus my work locally. This community holds small, yet transformative movements. Powerful people manifesting moments with resonance. CPC‘s Annual Celebration/Celebración Anual, for example (click here for JMPRO TV’s coverage). Sheneika Smith being sworn in as an Asheville City Council member. The collaborative work being done by the Buncombe County Isaac Coleman grant recipients. And on and on.
Similarly, I ponder the fractal nature of each and every interaction and action. What social dynamics do I want reverberating throughout our society? Am I being true to them? How I am in relationship with mother earth? What type of community exists in my home? On my block? In my neighborhood? (Respect to DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers for his neighborhood-based initiatives.) Throughout my city?
There’s much to meditate on. Fractal is just a fraction of the brilliance adrienne maraee brown is dropping. With a focus on the liberation of black people, I am studying her work as a white woman striving to gently hold my place in the ecosystem of change.
Writing for you has become part of my place. I’ve been moved by the response to my Patreon page launch last week. Current subscribers checking in to make sure they will still be getting posts, new subscribers expressing their support (THANK YOU), and other unexpected affirmations. Let’s keep building. Please know I encourage you to contact me if there are specific topics you’d like me to write about. We are on this journey together.
Southside Community Gardens
The Southside Community Gardens, located behind the Edington Center, is a vibrant, flourishing part of a historically African American neighborhood that is considered a food desert. The garden is running an online fundraiser – which ends this Friday, December 15 – to help them win a SeedMoney grant. Click here to support!
“This neighborhood is located in Buncombe County’s Census Tract 9, which has high levels of unemployment and poverty. Before urban renewal, it was the city’s premier black business district surrounded by a large residential neighborhood. During ‘redlining’ this neighborhood lost over 1,200 businesses and homes. The Housing Authority of the City of Asheville ‘serves’ more than 6,000 low- income families that live in 11 different sites within the city limits. The Southside neighborhood is home to 7 of these sites. Many of residents who live in Southside have lived through ‘land shuffling’ and displacement during ‘redlining’ and ‘urban renewal’…
Our vision for this space is to center the Southside history and culture, showcase talents, implement programs, teach skills, cultivate emerging leaders, grow food, incubate economic development and celebrate community. Southside Community Gardens is a thriving space that cultivates healing, restoring and reclaiming community through various forms of black culture, creativity, arts and agriculture.”
Over the past few years I have seen abundant, nourishing food and relationships grow in the Southside Community Gardens. Stories shared over shovels. Potent seeds of possibility planted in the soil. Let’s help it continue to blossom over the ensuing seasons.
As promised, I am populating my events calendar with relevant happenings. One upcoming event I’ll highlight today is Michelle Alexander‘s talk at UNC Asheville on Thursday, January 18. There’s no charge to attend. Alexander’s best-selling book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, “both crystalized and amplified public discussion about racism and civil rights, the war on drugs and the prison system.”
More soon, thank you for reading.
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