I’ve been away for awhile, but it’s not because I’m sittin’ around, feet up, with a nice cold one in my hand.
I have never been one to do nothing with my heartbreak.
I believe in doing something with what I say. The people closest to me will tell you that my biggest pet peeve is that when someone says something, and then doesn’t follow through on what they say. I refuse to be one of those people.
Well, I’ve been working very, very hard on things to follow up on both of those. I’ve been a busy little bee, community organizing and meeting amazing people throughout the community.
One of the things that I am helping to head up around creating dialogue is happening this month. On April 17th at 2pm, in my neighborhood, we will be having a silent walk to commemorate victims of gun violence.
Why my neighborhood? Because I live in the Shooks Run Neighborhood, where on October 31, 2015, a man open carried an AR-15, opened fire, and killed 3 people before being killed by police.
It struck close to my heart, in some ways literally and in some ways figuratively. I had to take a month to feel it all.
Needless to say, it’s definitely a part of why I haven’t written. Heartbreak comes in waves. I had to wait out the tide. And the timing was really hard, too, because only weeks before, I’d written my letter to Congress.
Then 27 days later, impossibly, there was another shooting, this time at Planned Parenthood about 2 miles away from me. For the 2nd time in 27 days, my city was on national news. My heart broke.
But with my heartbreak, I did something. I started a GoFundMe and was amazed as the community stepped forward. We raised $1000 in 4 hours over social media to take catered Panera Bread to staff at both hospitals where victims were taken.
I needed my time to grieve… but I have never been one to do nothing with heart break.
Then an opportunity came in early December for me to join a group of artists and community organizers in Colorado Springs. They were all interested in reclaiming safe space, and I jumped at it. The overall heartfelt response from the group was an interest creating de-politicized, safe space around the common heartache that everyone shares around gun violence.
This, honestly, was the only reason I even joined the group. Since the Planned Parenthood shooting, I’ve been very careful not to have much of any political conversation around gun violence. There was so much infighting after that shooting. I wasn’t ready to speak until I had a safe place to speak in. I wanted to be part of a group that brought a safe place to explore the heartache beneath the positions.
The amazing organizers at Common Space Collective that I’m working with are creating that safe space.
And we want to reclaim our common space, so we’re going to have a silent walk.
April 17, 2pm. Corner of Kiowa and El Paso. Walking through the neighborhood taking the same route that the shooter took. Ending at First Congregational Church for a short workshop on how to listen.
This is my town. These are my people. My neighborhood. And I’m doing something like this because I believe in it. I have never been a person to just believe in something without putting action to my beliefs. This is my way to say, to myself and my community – “You are safe here. We’re here with you.”
And stay tuned here at my site, more announcements to come!