Friday, August 31, 2007


There is little over a week left before Haiku’s Middle Passage opens. I cannot sleep because I’m concerned about the exhibit. I’ve tried everything to make sure people know that remembering the 200 years since the abolition of the TransAtlantic slave Trade is not about any one group of people. Our history of human injustices is a mirror image of our current day issues about human injustices, particularly around force human labor.

For me, the historical nature of the Haiku included in this exhibit is based on multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic interactions of human being. Anytime we engage with another person from an us/them perspective (race/culture/ethnic, class, or gender) – we set the stage for confrontation and exploitation.

We need to begin accepting our past and present for the shared and integrated experience it is. HMP is about such an approach to the people we have always been.

I know I can't really get everyone to understand this idea because such an understanding is not a one-person task. So thank you in advance for helping each other see each other dressed in our complete humanity.

(Really, now I'm going to go to sleep...)
All the things I’ve forgotten:

As the exhibit draws nearer, all I seem to realize are the many things I’ve forgotten to do. Fore example, I should’ve stressed the HMP is only part of other commemorative events happening in West Michigan!

I haven’t given proper credit the other individuals who served for more than a year on the West Michigan Committee to commemorate this historical event so here is that history:

“As part of this global observance, members of the local academic and cultural communities have formed a committee to plan and implement a program of activities throughout the year of 2007 that is consistent with the importance of this anniversary. The program's goal for 2007 is to enlighten, inform and educate students and the West Michigan community about the horrors of the slave trade, its impact, and its residual effects on the lives of Africans and their descendants throughout the Diaspora. Program activities will address a wide range of issues such as the history and impact of the slave trade, slavery, racism, and modern human trafficking. The committee consists of faculty and students from Calvin College, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, the Grand Rapids Community College, the Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Hope College as well as staff from the Gerald R. Ford Museum, the Grand Rapids Public Libraries, and the Grand Rapids Community Media Center.”
---From the committee webpage

I need should’ve stressed the support from several GRCC departments in making this event come together.

Thanks so much it’s darn near un-express-able to
WAYNE NEWTON the former art gallery coordinator for listening and being excited with me when we were finally able to meet and discuss this project

RON STEIN the current art gallery coordinator, he connected me to fabulous Michael Forrest (photographer extraordinaire). Ron meet with me in the summer to work on details of this project and work with Michael to design our invitations and take photos of all the visual art pieces. He gave me pointers on things that I can’t remember right now.

MICHAEL FORREST listened to me when I explained I had no money to pay for photos of the pieces, but thankfully he listened to the scope of the project more. He decided to join and create a piece for a Haiku. He continued to give his talent and time to this project and I’m tearing up as I type at his generosity.

JENNIFER SMITH from our Diversity Center is helping HMP’s details for the reception. Without her patience, knowledge, and willing to take a zillion e-mails from me the planned reception would be quite ugly.

Well, that’s all for now, since it’s still the wee hours the morning, I’m going to try and get s bit more sleep.


Why I can’t sleep:

Recently, a few people have asked me why, where, how, or what made me think of such a huge project as HMP. This night, those few inquisitive questions have stolen my sleep.

All I can say at this hour of the morning is – if you come across someone flying, figuratively or literally, don’t ask them how – join them in flight.