One of my favorite quotes is from a poem by Nikki Giovanni. She writes “and if ever I touched a life I hope that life knows that I know that touching was and still is and will always be the true revolution.” To me, this is truth. We are put on this earth to connect, empower, support, help, and love each other.
I hope your 2014 is starting out with life, energy, and light. In 2013 I actually got to meet Ms. Giovanni. I got to shake her hand and get her autograph on my collection of “Love Poems” It was a great year. 2013 was a big year for us all personally and professionally. One venture I’ve put a lot of time, energy, and heart into is a literary magazine I help run called As/Us: A Space for Women of the World. We publish writing by Indigenous women and women of color around the world. We also get to publish our male allies and women supporters in two issues a year.
I remember when it was just an idea we had, a dream. We dreamt of uniting voices by women of color to create community. Because of community, people sharing, supporting in person and by word of mouth we’ve managed to get the journal viewed in 129 countries around the world and counting. My neurotic self used to check our magazine FB page every day seeing if we could get over 200 likes….when I wasn’t looking somehow it is now over 700. I think the best things happen like what…when you’re not looking.
I remember as a young woman I used to search for meaning, for place, for belonging. I always felt like I never belonged. My mom always said that was a good thing because the seekers are the ones who go out searching; they are destined to find themselves out there and create change. I’ve been searching a lot time and I finally found myself in writing, in words, in art. I fell in love with poetry because it helped me make sense of things, the world, experiences, and myself.
Since then I’ve been blessed to make other writer/artist friends, but most of all, most importantly and what I hold most dear to my heart….our youth. I have been able to work with 100+ Native youth from over 8 different states, 13 different reservations and more. I find we are all searching for experiences, meaning, for love.
All of this matters because there are so many organizations and people who create spaces where people can come together for common causes. We do this with our magazine. We hope to continue to always provide a space for voices to share their experiences, to find each other, to find the words they’ve been searching for.
We’re on the last day of our Reach the Rez fundraiser that will help us get more issues of As/Us out into our communities, schools, and reservations. I’ve heard that when you walk through a door of opportunity you don’t shut it behind you, you hold it open for others to follow through. This is Us holding open the door to art, literature, creativity, and passion for those who will follow.