Not Exactly: Between home and where I find myself
I attended the kickoff fundraising breakfast for the exhibition Not Exactly: Between home and where I find myself at Redline this morning. I had a hard punch to the gut, attending this. But, I was present for the message.
The issues surrounding the different populations that have degrees of shelter loss/instability are complex and confounding. There’s statistics and then it’s all very personal to me. I don’t like to talk about these things much. I’m still in mourning over the losses I’ve accumulated. But, sometimes I feel that I’m too quiet. If I’m too quiet it’ll be like I’m not even here.
I’d challenge each of us who has “made” it to really think about the rising tides of populations affected by “job loss, economic downtown, rising housing costs, and the tremendous fragility of familial relations.” (Bennie Miller) Flip the coin. (40-60% of men who use different shelter and outreach programs in Denver go to a job every day)
Governor Hickenlooper encouraged us to use this exhibition as a platform to “find fresh ways to talk about homelessness.” Having identified homelessness as a problem as mayor of Denver- he also said that he knows that this is not a Denver problem but a Colorado problem. People experience this everywhere throughout the state. He’ now in the midst of rolling out the state-wide program “Pathways Home Colorado”.
Laura Merage founded Redline Denver as a safe place for diversities of experience and communities to emerge. PJ D’Amico encouraged all of us to find ways to talk and work together instead of at each other. He also referenced two scathing emails he received late last night that questioned whether a privileged person could talk about homelessness. He reminded us- he’s a person first.
It’s been of great interest to me to see esteemed and highly respected institutions get behind controversy and lift it up, peer under the rock and provide platforms for understanding. The MCA Denver does it’s own take on the down and dirty of feminism through Feminism + CO and Redline too through many differing programs.
If those with privilege aren’t allowed to raise their voices- I’m not sure who can. This should be/is a personal issue to everyone. Even better- it’s disastrous when people of privilege maintain their silence and distance from the issue.
I read some wise words from Stephanie Gilmore last week. Although Gilmore is speaking of sexist oppression it’s also applicable here.
“To understand sexist oppression, we must understand how racism, cisgenderism, heterosexism, and classism shape sexism; to end sexism, we have to confront all forms of oppression. Of course, this is the hard work – many forces conspire to keep us divided from one another, perpetuating a sort of ‘oppression Olympics’ wherein various –isms are pitted against each other. When we buy into that perspective, we work at odds with one another. To combat these forces, we need our many voices and to see how our individual battles ARE our collective struggle.”
To see the list of events go here- http://redlineart.org/art/events/exhibitions/not-exactly.html