Patchwork History (Lest we forget)

Become enfolded in Black History with “Emancipation Revisited” at the Chesapeake Arts Center

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This Saturday, Feburary 20th at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland, a coalition of Black Churches called the North Arundel Cultural Preservation Society (NACPS) will put on an original play entitled “Emancipation Revisited: Lest We Forget.”

Months ago I met some of the members of the NACPS at the Bates Legacy Center. Surrounded by quilted History, pieced together by hands around the county and state, the story of these women, these churches, this play began to unfold and enfold me.

quilt

Since moving to Baltimore over a decade ago, my life has become increasingly interwoven with Black Lives and Black Matters. Over the last two years especially…I feel this tapestry interlocking with fragments of my own. I am invited deeper into spaces of trust and love…and pain and struggle. Students’ stories. Colleagues’ stories. Friends’ stories. Maryland’s stories. America’s stories.

Stitched Together.

Painstakingly.

I am humbled. I fall silent.

So much work to be done. So many stitches left. But with these hands?

Soft. White.Trembling.

Because this fabric is hallowed, the pattern unfolding, the lighting dim, my stitches are halting. Despite my ineptitude, I believe in this circle, am consoled by the hands that grasp mine.

I am not yet the person I need to be to tell the stories of these encounters. My voice is not strong enough to honor these odysseys.

And anyway… the stories are not mine to tell. Perhaps, when “my” story and “your” story become “our”story, perhaps then it will be time.

Until my words can catch up, I will let my stitches speak louder.

I have come to believe that the only meaningful change that happens in our world occurs through deepening relationships. So even as I labor over this short post, this tiny patch, know that the place I have decided to weave my deepest efforts is not here.

It’s out there.

With you.

Until the day we are truly “we”.

(Lest we forget.)

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