2016: The Year In Review. 2017: You Have To Do Better

31 Dec

Philando Castile, Alton Sterling Mourning Umbrella

Philando Castile, Alton Sterling Mourning Umbrella for Providence, RI Memorial March

You know. I don’t even have to say it. 2016’s posts pretty much say it all, and this isn’t the half of it.  Thanks for following along throughout the year.

In January, I was barely done pondering how my father shaped my views on race relations, when the 2016 celebrity death avalanche started out, shooting an arrow to the heart with the loss of David Bowie.

In February we lost the great Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire, and Prince’s muse, Vanity 6’s, Denise Matthews.  We didn’t know then, what was to befall our Godly Prince.  In between those losses, I thought about how integration plays out in our day-to-day lives, noting that while we may have more diverse work settings than in the past, we still pretty much all live, and spend most of our time, apart from one another.

I got to highlight the first play written by friend, poet, Christopher Johnson: Invisible Upsouth that showed at the Wilbury Theater in Providence in March.

In April…in April..our hearts cried..Our Prince left our earthly presence and went up to make music with David, Maurice and Denise.

In May and June I became quiet on the blog, and in July I shared why, after a month of yet another, and another killing of Black men by police officers. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile lives were taken, July 5th and 6th.

Then I got quiet again.

In October I recalled a conversation with a friend, an anti-racism activist, who questioned my willingness to truly stand up against racism, all while standing in line for gourmet donuts.Later in the month I got to revisit Trinity Repertory Company’s Every 28 Hours plays, and their new Community Response plays, noting the sad state of the plays’ continued relevance this year.

And, just when I was hopeful for our future after hearing about the dynamic work of local community activists, and arts activism programming by youth from AS220Youth, at the AS220 FutureWorlds panel, I, along with much of the country, were devastated by the election of the new President, and what that will mean for Black people, women, and the Muslim, immigrant, LGBTQ communities. I channeled the memory of my mother, and she channeled Kendrick Lamar to let me know, with resistance, fighting the wrong, and love, we gonna be alright.

First setback after the election: the mistrial of the police officer who killed Walter Scott.  It was caught on video. And the judge called a mistrial. It’s December–and still you wonder why Black people don’t believe their lives are valued. As I stepped away from my writing desk this year to learn how to be an activist, I gave a tip of the hat to all those that came before me, and those currently working day and night to fight racism. On the cusp of 2017, I vow, like many of my friends, to stay vigilant, to stand up for what is right, to fight hate, and work for positive change. I vow to love. Sending love and light to all of you, and many thanks for all the love you’ve shown me this year. <3





2 Responses to “2016: The Year In Review. 2017: You Have To Do Better”

  1. Sherry Gordon January 3, 2017 at 12:23 am #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Well, hello, there, Wendy Jane, my so, so very For Always awesomely special and precious soul sisterfriend who you’re For Always so, so very much!!!! What an absolutely beautiful and very, very fantastic blog post article this is of yours here that is such a so, so very dearly sweet and wholeheartedly and sincerely deep, loving validation of me and of other of your black sisterfriends and brotherfriend, sister!!!!! Here you have as usual as always totally with such lovingly heartfelt and sensitively loving care recognized us so, so very dearly, preciously, and strongly in acknowledging us!!!!!! You are for sure our so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful white woman as our dearest and darling sister and friend, Wendy Jane!!!!! Wow, the title of this awesome blog post article is superbly super here and is a call for all of us to work together in the unity of the spirit so that we can combine all of our efforts in unity in trying with all that we have with all of our very being to co-create a better and brighter New Year 2017. We all will never ever give up and we will keep the faith with hope and a positive optimism in never ever losing heart, sisterfriend!!!!! We are for certain all in this together, my and our so, so very dearest and darling friend, Wendy Jane!!!!!

    Sister, your review of 2016 is very on point here, very thorough, detailed, and extensive covering all of the bases, Wendy Jane!!!! Wow, I so love this as I love all of your super blog post article in all of its great entirety, my friend. Sister, you are so right-2016 had a celebrity death avalanche with the relentless death parade of our beloved celebrities, singers and musicians, actresses and actors. Wow, did our very hearts break with all of these very powerful celebrities passing on one after another after another, and with the merciless frequency of one celebrity after another losing her and his life, sisterfriend. Sister, YOU have been my absolute joy and blessing first of all having you in my life as my so, so very dearest and darling sister and friend, and following you and your blog is such a greatly immense joy and blessing not only for me but also for very many other folks, and not just last year in 2016 but as usual as always, my and our friend!!!!Sisterfriend, I always all of the time think in my heart and keep very, very close in my heart YOU, Wendy Jane, and other right on, wondrously wonderful white women and other marvelous white persons, and I try so, so very hard with all that I have with all of my very being to think of what it is like for you and other white persons, what your very thoughts, concerns, needs, and ideas are in how all process things and what you need in order for all of you to learn, heal, and grow toward your racial awareness. Sister, very, very often when I pray and meditate I try to envision in my mind’s eye what it is like for you, Wendy Jane, and for other marvelous white women!!!!! Wendy Jane, I think with all that I have with all of my very being with all of my heart and spirit that you need all of the time in the world for a gradual pace anyway toward your anti-racism and activism as all splendid white persons do like in knowing and understanding how much 24/7 responsibilities you have on your shoulders being a single mom raising two spectacular girls and having two jobs along with all of your other responsibilities which you have to do, my precious friend and sister! I think that you are doing your very, very absolutely best and I am just amazed at all you very efficiently and productively accomplish, sister, with all you have on your plate to do, Wendy Jane! You are just trying so hard with all of your special and precious heart and spirit in such very fine and excellent fashion in such a diligently conscientious manner, my sisterfriend! Sister, I know that I and other black persons are not considered as having as much value, importance, and significance but even though I know this and that racism is very real and a very present evil which continues to plague us as black persons I will never ever stop loving YOU, Wendy Jane, and other awesome white persons as my sisters and brothers and our Great God’s children. Even with knowing all of that horrid negative stuff which I just wrote about a moment ago I am going to stay positive, and keep my sweet love for white people as my sisters and brothers, and never ever give up on each of you in having complete confidence in YOU, sister, and in other white people in your abundant potential for and actual great good. Despite all of the racism and with all of the terrible, very heinous things which have occurred and at least at present keep occurring, and no matter how egregiously black persons at least in the past and at present are thought of, I for one am never ever going to lose my very faith and hope with my positive optimism, and I am always going to be here for YOU, sisterfriend, and other white people very delightfully and eagerly cheering for all of you on and rooting for all of you as you all find yourselves, learn, heal, and grow in your anti-racism, and as all of you deepen and sharpen your racial awareness! I for one think YOU, my fried, and other white people need all of the time in the world in going at a gradual pace and the room to grow, and that each of you can realize in finding and enacting your racial healing and growth, Wendy Jane!!!!! This is a gradual process over a lifetime, and what I say always to borrow a slogan from one of my very, very many, multiple 12-Step Programs which I am a member of the words come to me that Progress, not perfection is the key here. This gradual process along a lifetime does not have to be a perfect journey and not a perfect path. It is perfectly normal, alright, okay, and natural to be imperfect and to make mistakes along the way, Wendy Jane!

    My friend, I, too, vow together and united with you and very, very many other persons to stay vigilant, to stand up for what is right, to fight hate, and to work for positive change in vowing to love, sending love and light to YOU, Wendy Jane, and to other amazing white persons in our struggle together, and my love to everybody else in our resistance, and I thank-YOU for sending love to me not only this past year in 2016 but as usual as always just like you have sent love to others black persons, too, sister!!!!! Sister, I just so love all of this brilliantly sensitive blog post article, and I am so glad you revisited here with showing your very lovely and empowering umbrella in this awesome picture from awhile back. Wow, I feel even better and brighter with even more cheer after joyfully reading this so cool full of spirit blog post article and joyously responding with my very heartfelt, thorough, and detailed thoughts, ideas, and comments!!!!! Yay for YOU, Wendy Jane!!!! Yay for our sisterfriend and friendship, Wendy Jane!!!!! Yay!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very For Always steadfast soul sisterfriend white woman who you’re For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane, with Such Peace and Love For You For Always, sister of mine, and with Such Blessings and Such Even Very More Blessings For You For Always, friend of mine,

    Yours For Always soul sisterfriend black woman and For Always in the great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa

    • Wendy Jane January 5, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

      Thank you, Sherry. I can’t even put into words what your support means to me. I thank you for reminding me that this a journey that I am on, and that perfection is not the goal, but to realize that each day brings gradual progress. Knowing that you are there for me, as I try, imperfectly:), to be an accomplice in the fight for justice and equality for Black people.

      Much love,
      Wendy Jane

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