What a fascinating day, with connections and conversations and celebrations of neighbors — around the block and around the world…
The first “Lunch with Mama Peace” hosted by Main Street Connect at Soulfull Cafe was rich with discussion… We considered the fact of “who is my neighbor?” in time and space, the subtle but critical differences between “being a neighbor” and “being neighborly”, the importance of community in carrying our neighbors’ stories and memories and essence (aka Heartsongs) forthward, and so much
more… can’t wait for the October gathering (10/8) when we move from “neighbors” to “kinship and family” as we build community. This monthly event is open to ALL.
The afternoon was filled with education and experiential-exploration during a gathering at Button Farm in Germantown, MD — as Toney Cohen (Historical Interpreter at The Menare Foundation) and team celebrated International Underground Railroad month, with a focus on Harriet Tubman and other neighbors of the past who shaped our local and national history. Montgomery County Council-member Craig Rice helped unveil a miniature replica of the new “Journey to Freedom” sculpture that is beginning a nationwide tour. The full size sculpture (9 feet high and 13 feet wide) will be hosted at the Farm for local viewing and learning during spring, 2023. It depicts a weary but determined
adult with a less certain child trudging along and leaning forward into a journey to freedom. The motion and character strength rendered in this remarkable piece of art has palpable energy, and clearly conveys the urgency of “the journey” and the desperate desire for “freedom” — and relief from the inhumane fact of bondage and slavery.
History — complete and uncensored, whether on pages or in living representation as found on Button Farm — can be a difficult and even painful truth to explore. But it is essential that we understand — with accuracy and acceptance — the lived experiences and lingering emotions of all of our neighbors, across time and space. Yes, we must unveil the shadows of inhumanity — not to appall, but to appeal to the good of humanity. Every story matters. Not every detail needs to be shared; but every truth needs to be realized — so that we can shape a better now and tomorrow for all, and tend to the mosaic of humanity.
The day closed with another sunset conversation up on the rooftop at the MamaPeacePad @BLVD… there were not the typical “unwind after a long work day shenanigans” though. Instead, we spent time chatting with a new neighbor in the building, and generally continuing essential conversations about cultivating peace, and building community, and celebrating the powerful potential of “neighborhood” living, and be’ing.
PS – the nifty final photo in this post is of some neighborly folks I met while rolling back home after work… I paused for a moment — intrigued by the mosaic expression on the bench… from red sneakers to yodel-appropriate attire, with party accoutrements at hand and in bags… I learned that these guys were headed to an early Oktoberfest celebration… but we shared a bit in conversation, and by time we headed onward in our own directions, we had all agreed to RaiseAGlassOrGratefulHands today, and toast, with purpose — for peace. Yep — connecting with neighbors is just that simple, and worthy.