I get a few video segments mixed up, sound almost stoned in others, call a cappuccino a latte, and have other assorted errors, but I am quite pleased with this video essay. Video work is quite the challenge compared to taking and editing stills or even writing essays in print alone, and this project combined them all. Enjoy a final piece of pumpkin on this Thanksgiving night.
today all the lines,
city county divide, inked
in cardinal red
I am not a fool (at least not all of the time). I know it is just baseball. Tomorrow St. Louis will be the same city with sad racial and economic divisions between black and white and city and county. In a month, even if we win the series, baseball will not have had the power to create change. That lies in efforts elsewhere. Even the beloved ball park, Busch Stadium, itself, is a microcosm of the city – if you notice who sits where and who it is who mostly sit and who mostly serves, even who rakes the infield between innings, sort of fun glory job.
Even so, it is amazing just who Cardinal baseball gets talking to one another, often in excited or worried fashion, as they articulate shared hopes and fears and sweat out the games togethr. Just now a bunch of biddies in the Goodwill, in search of a tiny red jacket for a rally squirrel, were talking baseball, even if they were all confused about the status of the series, as “Play it Cardinal Style” pumped out on the radio. Yeah, it’s that kind of town.
So, if for a couple of weeks in October even if only our dividing lines get drawn in Cardinal red, well, that ain’t too bad.
I don’t do this often, but whilst undertaking a photo shoot for a ministry for my church. I learned that they are in desperate need of funding to finish out their program for the year. At the current state, they will continue either until this Friday or the following. To finish out the program until August, they need about $5000 a day or $75,000 total.
Harambee is a ministry which, well, “ministers” to a variety of groups. First, St. Louis children are given the opportunity to learn a valuable skill (tuckpointing) and the opportunity to earn some money. This provides all sorts of benefits including learning to work with others and gaining discipline. The children also hear about Christianity and receive instruction on other life skills in daily devotions.
The ministry also provides great blessing to the widows and elderly who get their homes tuckpointed at no cost, normally a very expense proposition.
And, finally, the staff who work with the children, not only bear with the physical challenges of the job, but also strive to be a blessing to the children. And this can be challenging when there are discipline issues to deal with. As I have witnessed these staff working, I am amazed at their patient care and love for the children.
So, in the spirit of the meaning of “harambee,” which is Swahili for “let’s get together and push,” I thought that if you had some spare cash lying about which was unspoken for that you might consider giving some of it to Harambee! I imagine that big gifts are the most useful to keep the program going (no kidding, Neil!) but you might call and see if whatever amount that you have to give will be immediately useful or not. Of course, they will take your money any day of the year but it may be especially useful now. If you are ready to give or want more information, you may have a look at the Harambee web site or try the numbers below to let them know a gift is on the way.
Harambee Main Line: (314) 726-4988
Executive Director: Aaron Henning, (314) 726-4988 x225
Director of Training: Lester Badenoch, (314) 726-4988 x224
Administrator: Carrie Jones, (314) 726-4988 x231
Or you can simply make out a check to “Harambee” and pop in a note if you like and send it to this address:
Restore St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63112
Finally, some pictures. I do not have any recognizable pictures of the children here to respect their privacy, but hopefully this set gives you some indication of the nature and scope of the work (I visited 4 out of 5 crews today). The final picture is of the program director, who wears his dedication in the smudges on his face.
The Chapel is a music and arts venue which was set up by a local church which is a sister to my own. It is a space designed to encourage artists by passing on to them the entire gate receipts, while providing concert goers with two drinks, through funds supplied donations. How cool is that. In fact a local GLBT newspaper gave it a great review despite inital trepidation on the part of the author.
I have seen some amazing acts there. Several weeks back an artist was shooting a video and had the chapel lit up and the Chapel had illuminated most of the stained glass. Below are some of the results. The close-ups of the stained glass are very Chagall-esque, and while they are lovely (and I love the turtle and the star) I might perfer my stained glass straight up, traditional, which generally means either Catholic or high church.
Photo courtesy of Clay Johnson
By the riverside
The wounded rise and sing. And
Study war no more.
Today during church as I listened to “Down by the Riverside” for the second time in as many days, wonderfully performed by an adult choir at my church in honor of Black History Month, it struck me just what a remarkable lyric this is. As far as my very limited research could determine, this is a traditional spiritual. And I was struck at the power of the Gospel of Christ that encouraged oppressed African Americans, who had every reason to study war a whole lot, to instead sing this lyric, which is a not a lyric of defeat but transcendence. Hence the haiku above, largely penned while running the slide projector at church today.
I think our church choir did a better job than this one, and yet they have a remarkable soloist. And, yes, though the choir is a little amusing to watch because of its demographics and dress, I think this Youtube clip gives you the best sense of the song in the clearest format I could find.
The remainder of the evening last night (when we actually celebrated Black History Month officially as a church) was filled with other inspirational songs and great music.