The forgotten people look different from nation to nation and from time to time. I remember being in university and reading about how older generations sometimes became the forgotten in various parts of the US. I then had to write papers on the subject. I remember presentations from fellow students that highlighted the incarcerated and one time, with a now close friend, sex workers.
A lot of the forgotten make people uncomfortable, so it’s not always best practice to bring them up. We learnt that over one brutal summer with a friend as she tried to impact the lives of sex workers and found the religious institution she called home disapproved of everything she was doing. This broke her and we pieced her back together with beads, silence, music, random fast food visits and a lot of crying plus praying.
The discomfort makes me wonder about what we should do next. Should we discuss the issue or remain proper and in essence, silent? If you only have one life to live, wouldn’t it also be profitable to use part of it to handle some of the world’s heaviness in between everything else you feel you have to do before you die? Discomfort isn’t a reason to stay silent anymore. Or at least, it isn't to our team.
As a child in one of the Eastern nations of Africa, I remember social ethics classes where we discussed those who were HIV positive and how society, at the time, preferred to shun and even neglect them to the point of death. Forgotten people are everywhere. Currently, a second man is said to have been cured of the disease in the UK. Such headlines make me wonder about those who died and the burden of human life. Not that I am God or that I even want to check His work, but sometimes, I wonder about us as mankind. I wonder about how much of a burden we are to each other, to the earth we live in and even to God.
In these social ethics classes, we often discussed why people might shun someone diagnosed with the disease. We discussed the facts of the disease and perhaps why shunning them might not be helpful to society as a whole. We discussed myths about the disease and then reflected on how these myths led to lost lives. As stated before, forgotten people differ from nation to nation and from time to time. It took us a while to get to the point where we now say, HIV is not a death sentence. With the possibility of a cure within reach, it now truly isn’t a death sentence. For me and my ever reflective mind though, this gives me a lot to ponder.
I didn't know what to do so I called her first after commenting on her post. I spoke with her and asked her to record a short video we could share that highlighted what she felt might help those like her brother at this time. I still don't have a concrete solution and that is another thing that bothers me (catches my attention) about us... mankind. We made these rules. Not necessarily us, but people who lived or perhaps ran affairs before us. Why should there be systems we don't understand how to navigate? Why isn't this information readily available? And if we find out the system in place isn't serving our current needs, why must it be such a battle to better things? These are all man-made complications and we are man. As I said, I ponder a lot.
We have a project with a teammate that will allow us to design and create furniture with former inmates within the US. This should roll out in the next few weeks since I've learnt that almost everything we design or bring in tends to sell online. People seem to appreciate our aesthetic and former inmates are a group I have wanted to work with. Why not do it now? I don’t have a plan for Sarah’s brother though.
I have decided that bringing the subject to the limelight, especially amongst those who shop with us, is important. I emcee and craft various cross-cultural events not just within Indiana, but the world. These events allow people to meet and connect with other people who might not live, love, worship or look like them. When we gather and work through societal issues (verbally and otherwise), I almost always hear a statement along the lines of "Hmm, I didn't even know this was still an issue," or "I didn't even know this was a problem anywhere in the world,".
Having these cross-cultural events has allowed us to see each other, despite our differences. As stated before, I am always quietly thinking about mankind and the burden of our existence and the possibility of lessening our burden on each other, the earth and eventually, God. I feel that when we connect on that human level, politics and other insignificant issues aside, we can finally begin to get past a lot of the man-made and man-allowed chaos we have chosen to exist in.
So, I am sharing Sarah's story. I've tried to read and watch a few more interviews so I can learn more on the subject. Again, I might not have the solution, but reading and listening might help me understand more so our organization can also become a resource on the subject. We are choosing to share because someone might read this and may very well have a solution or even a suggestion that might help Sarah.
I think the biggest thing for me, as someone who cares deeply about this state and calls this nation one of my homes, is I did not want to be silent anymore. I've styled, dressed, partnered and created for a lot of influential people in the state and beyond this state. Simply calling Sarah to check in on her emotional and mental state, didn't feel like enough. So if you do read this and you do know more about what can be done to help, not just Sarah’s brother John, but others who are serving time behind bars, please get in touch.
These are the latest texts I received from Sarah yesterday evening and today morning:
04/ 28th/ 2020 4:36 PM: As of right now I haven’t been able to hear from him in a week. All we know is that they moved him to a hospital to get treatment and we have not heard which hospital. They won’t let us know where he is only that he’s getting treatment. And it’s been a week.
04/ 29th/ 2020 1:26 PM: I just heard today that he is alert and still in the hospital. They won't tell us where though.
Below, I've added the photographs from one of the projects where Sarah literally saved us. We were booked for three events in three different states on one weekend. I loved why each event was being held and I wanted us to take part in ALL of them. Each event had to do with culture and community. Sarah agreed to take the Kansas City, MO event. She drove for nine hours to meet African DJs she did not know but that put the event together. She produced The Taste of Africa Festival fashion show we were hired to create with our pieces and some of her own (she's a stylist). These are some of the dress rehearsal pictures. So today, I will not include anything for sale. I will share the magic of SarahJintheCity and what she brought to life. You can also watch her IGTV video here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_iHpaHhDLy/
I like music. Music is always a good idea. I included a song by the late Geoffrey Oryema - Makambo. I bumped into this song on YouTube and I like to listen to it on days when I allow my pondering to ebb and flow without restrictions.
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