Recently I looked for the art piece that helped me heal the hate I had for JPF.
I hung it in my art studio. But it seemed to always be looking down at the space where my grandchildren play, so I moved it.
I usually keep it in a drawer. I didn’t really like looking at it. It was too powerful and painful. Although the intention of healing was tremendous 4 years ago, I felt a heavy weight in my heart when I looked at it.
I searched everywhere and couldn’t find it.
I called my husband he said, “Honey, I think you threw it away.” I was stunned. I couldn’t conceive of throwing it away. How could I throw away this powerful symbol that transformed me and JPF so deeply? I was so disappointed in myself.
My fear and anxiety grew.
For days I was deeply concerned about my mental health. Why couldn’t I remember throwing it away? It didn’t seem like something I would do; throw away meaningful art. I wondered why I wouldn’t sell it rather than discard it? I had offers to purchase it. But I kept it to use in race and ethnicity classes at the community college.
Days of beating myself up and retracing my steps led me to remember what happened:
I had a strong urge to listen to the last of the recorded conversations I had with JPF, the day before his execution. In our conversation, he showered me with compliments, gratitude and love. He seemed genuinely sincere when he told me how much it meant to him that I would forgive him. He asked that I call his friend Glen Miller, suggesting he would be good to me.
I never called his friend. I may have forgiven JPF but I’m not stupid. I felt strongly that if I visited him, JPF would have someone waiting in the parking lot at the prison to finish what he started in 1980. That’s why I only spoke to him on the phone. I didn’t trust or like him. I pitied him.
I couldn’t listen to more than a few minutes of our conversation. It was too painful and traumatizing.
I looked up Glen Miller and found several articles including these:
Miller’s murders were committed on JPF’s birthday, the year after his execution. This act of domestic terrorism was mostly ignored by mainstream media. I sincerely believe that ignoring these domestic terrorist’s crimes, helps white supremacy flourish in the shadows.
JPF and Miller’s stories sickened me to my core.
At that moment, I felt that no one, who can do anything about it, cares about healing racism or holding white supremacist domestic terrorists accountable in our country.
Something inside me broke. I walked straight to the garbage and got rid of it, along with the memory of throwing it away.
If only eradicating the ignorance of white supremacy were that easy.
My assignment in figure painting could be anything I wanted to paint so I chose to paint my version of Dorothy Dandridge in “Carmen”. I like how it turned out. We normally use oil or acrylic but I wanted to try watercolor. Its my third time painting an assignment in water-color. I like working with it but I think I would do better if I took a water painting class.
I painted a chrome statue of Buddha. It sits center stage in my home, keeping me mindful of being present & grateful for all the blessings in my life.
Spring semester 2013, I was asked to create paintings without using any black or white to mix the colors for paint.
I couldn’t help but think, “What would my life be like without black or white’s influence?” I often feel that I walk between the space of race.
I thought of all the races that are part of my DNA. I come from a long line of open-minded lovers, maybe some weren’t given a choice. Many ancestors were on opposite sides of race wars; French, Mexican, German, African American, Native American, Middle Eastern, English, Irish, Scottish, slaves & slave owners.
I thought of the imprint of pain & misunderstanding because of the black & white mentality that cripples my heart when I feel like I don’t fit in.
I wondered if I could heal my ancestor’s pain within me.
I visualized them all, speaking of their lives & their journeys. I wanted to hear them all. I wanted to heal them all. I saw them making peace with each other in another realm where no black or white was allowed, just the pure colors of their essence. They were my inspiration for these paintings.
I see them all dancing within me.
I see them in the face my grandchildren.
Changing the world begins within…. outside of black & white.
I recently watched a couple of documentaries about Bob Marley. I am so glad I did.
For me reggae music has become an acquired taste. But I’m aligned with the energy and message of reggae.
I was in awe of Bob’s story. It’s ironic he died of skin cancer.
Bob was biracial. His mother Jamaican and mostly absent father was English. His fathers family denied him, even when he was at the height of his popularity. It is because of him that most people recognize his fathers last name.
A Jamaican woman he loved said he died of a white disease, skin cancer. Many healers believe if you don’t deal with your feelings they show up in your body as illnesses.
It made me think of the white oppression he experienced in his every day existence. I wish he could have been healed from that damage. He was such a powerhouse for love.
His songs and messages of ONE LOVE are eternal truths that still soothes those that reach towards equality and humanity.
I love it when a white man speaks the truth about race relations or white privilege!
Comedy can be an effective way to help people UNDERSTAND the truth.
This video is totally worth 3 minutes of your day:)
I have to share when I see healing in our world. EXCELLENT VIDEO!
This police chief was saying what should have been said a LONG time ago.
Right now there are so many examples of grace being displayed in our world if we pay attention.
Healing begins within and creates a ripple effect in our communities.
Martin Luther King once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Hello my name is Terry. Most people don’t know my story. It isn’t one that I feel safe sharing. It isn’t a pretty story. I had hoped that I would not feel compelled to share it ever again. But today as I stand here with a heavy heart for Trayvon Martin and his loved ones, I will share a story about racism in Utah.
The last shreds of childhood innocence were stolen from me when I was 15 years old. In 1980 a racist serial killer came to Salt Lake City, Utah with the hopes of starting a race war. We were unaware as he stalked us that night. He shot and murdered my African American friends, Ted Fields and David Martin and shot me for race mixing.
Life was never the same after that day. The emotional and physical toll it took on the families of these incredible young men is immeasurable. That night, every ounce of innocence was drained from our lives. It’s been almost 32 years since that horrible crime. I still remember every single detail. It’s part of my history. It is part of Utah’s history. I think of Ted, Dave and their loved ones every single day, as I will for Trayvon and his loved ones.
I’ve come to understand that racism is like cancer. You can’t put a band aid on cancer and expect it to disappear. If you ignore it and don’t address it immediately it will spread and grow until it kills.
We are in need of rational truthful dialogue to eradicate and heal it once and for all.
I believe the cure for racism’s curse are the conversations we are uncomfortable having.
American’s must FACE the past of our ancestors and the present norm in society regarding race relations. There is no other way. It won’t be a pretty picture, oppression never was. We must seek the truth and avoid the tendency to fight to be right. It is time to listen and truly hear the truth.
If we are to heal the cancer of racism, we must KNOW the stories of the oppressed to understand the effect it has on its victims and our society.
Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.
Education can cure the fear or hate passed on to our children. Knowledge is powerful. It transforms us into who we are meant to be. It makes us whole.
As Brian Jones, a brilliant teacher and activist said, “Racism is product of believing that some people are not worthy of justice and those people are overwhelmingly young and black and male. That the best place for them is prison or an invisible cage of post felony life. George Zimmerman saw what society has taught him to see. He saw someone who was already a criminal. The criminal justice system seems to be afraid of these cases, of creating real justice for these men. Because to deal with them we would have to reveal the depths of racism in our system.”
Trayvon’s murder has become an invitation to join the discussion of equality, racism and justice in America.
We owe it to ourselves, our children, and our world to learn our true history. We must hear the stories of the oppressed and honor their journey and love them.
There should not be an “us and them” any more. Humanity is the color of water, not skin.
Isn’t it time for us to help humanity join the human race?
How can one person change this huge problem in our country? I can tell you what works for me.
When I lose hope and become overwhelmed with the complexities of healing from the racism in our world, I reflect on the NAACP Value statement. It is my compass.
* I believe all Americans have equal rights and equal value.
* I cherish the diverse cultures, beliefs, and values of America.
* I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable.
* I repudiate all acts of racism and hate, both in words and action.
* I have faith in the promise of America – a promise built on mutual respect,
common civility, and hope for a better tomorrow.
* I commit to building that better America by participating actively and
peacefully in the democratic process.
I think Dr King said it best in 1963
“Let us all hope the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away & the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities. In some not too distant tomorrow, the radiant stars of love & brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
For me, these are the timeless truths that fosters hope in humanity and continue to heal my broken heart. I am directed to pay attention to the Light, that Light that brought us here and will escort us on the way home.
A friend sent me a beautiful quote today regarding my artwork.
“We cannot undo the past, but we can recognize what has happened and why. To ignore past misdeeds is to condone them, if only by silence; to acknowledge past misdeeds is to educate, and to educate is to prepare the way for a better tomorrow. Historical tragedies must not be forgotten but kept alive in our individual and collective historical memories as tangible reminders of what can never be allowed to happen again.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.”