Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
wise words from my pal Terisa:
I have to ask everyone to pardon me in advance if this rambles or is long... I am up late with my brain churning.
I'm sure you have seen a few of my posts about the upcoming event I am hosting. We named it Makeup and Mayhem as a tie in to the the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which marked the first major uprising against homosexual discrimination. You can wiki it here:
If you want the Cliff's notes: It's the Rosa Parks moment of the gay community.
When Daniel Cates asked us if he could hold this event in our studio/gallery one of the first things he said was, "I really need you as a liaison to the straight art community and the straight community in general." It seemed funny to me that he wanted an event with the theme of equality but didn't know how to tap into the straight community for support, but I have been doing a lot of thinking since then.
I thought I was super "gay friendly" and that many of my friends are too but then I realized I really live in a bit of a bubble. Many of my neighbors on this street are gay and I only see them as homeowners, not homos. Most of my interactions are pretty mundane. Other than that though I stay very much in my white, city-dweller, artsy, slightly hippy world.
I thought I had all my knowledge in the bag. But I'm reawakening to the struggle that being gay can sometimes be because of perceptions, fear, etc. I've heard some "coming out" stories that really touched me. I haven't heard any in a while because I don't actually have a great deal of gay friends. I'd forgotten how hard that process is for many people.
Here some goals of the Grassroots Equality Network (who this fundraiser will ultimately benefit):
• We are dedicated to improving the lives of every American by creating an environment of hope and unity.
• We promise to work tirelessly to improve conditions in our community and affect positive change in the world around us.
• We affirm the importance of working together to find solutions.
• We will operate lawfully and respectfully in all matters.
• We will not profit from our endeavors.
• We believe in fairness for all, and will not waiver in the conviction to create a better community for all citizens.
• We believe in the power of the people, and fully believe that through a system of grassroots unity we will win the struggle for full equality.
That's not so scary, is it?
I am really tuned in this past year or so to how segregated we keep ourselves from each other. Everyone tucks into a little pocket of comfort and we don't challenge our brains to think from other perspectives. In fact it's really encouraged here in the U.S. to pick a sports team, pick a political party, pick a PC or a Mac and then defend that position as if your life depended on it and by all means to not listen to opposition, mingle with the "enemy" or falter on any ideas. YOUR way is RIGHT!
We all have our little bit of turf to defend and we can snicker at those who are "different" from us.
As an aside, I was actually a bit shocked that several people who came to our gallery during the Oak Cliff Art Crawl (friends no less) commented what a "bad neighborhood" it was. Bad neighborhood? Bishop Arts? Hmmm... the sight of brown faces evidently makes the neighborhood "bad."
But then I think that helps me wrap up what I am trying to say here. GET OUT OF YOUR DAMN COMFORT ZONES PEOPLE! Go to a neighborhood where the faces aren't like yours. Go to a neighborhood where boys kiss boys and girls hold hands and just sit and have coffee and realize that the shock wears off quickly hen you see how normal everyone is. Have a debate about your political stance with someone who has the opposite views and try not to seethe because you are right and they are wrong. Listen to them without your next counterpoint in your mental queue. Hell, if you are on a PC jump on a Mac for an hour and vice versa.
Here's my biggest hope for all of you at this event on May 23: Show up and talk to one person you would not normally talk to and have a REAL conversation with them about their life. I don't want to make you donate or buy art because ultimately it's NOT about the money. The money would not even be needed if we could just get straight and gay people together and start realizing we aren't that different. Or white and brown people. Or liberals and conservatives.
And now a song for all of you!
Peace out, T
P.S. Official event website: http://makeupandmayhem.wordpress.com/