Thursday, December 30, 2010

Who are your People?

Community…a word composed of two greater words, common and unity that imply exactly that, a coming together or unification of those who have some traits in common.

Community…I love the way it rolls off the tongue, literally making a hug then a kiss in your mouth. Say it cah (opening arms) mu (closing) ni (retreat inside) tee (ending with a smile)

Community…the word conjures up warmth for me, a safe space, home.

Community is a necessary space. One which, in this society of rugged individualism, is often forgotten, denied, and even erased. The questions our grandmothers never had to ask, “Who are your people?” “Where are you from?” we never think to ask, assuming Google knows all. But Google won’t tell us that his people are fifth generation alcoholics…or that she is from a tribe of women, who have never known a healthy relationship with men. Barring a direct confession, these are truths learned from living, working, loving and playing in relation to others. And that is the definition of community.

I first learned of community spaces and the exchanges which take place in them from artists. They were musicians, producers, rappers who knew one another and one another’s work. They knew the history of the music they loved, other genre’s that borrowed and sampled the music, and could identify a production team by their sound signatures. They read about their favorite artists, voraciously devoured liner notes, and knew all of the hidden gems that were slept on by regular listeners. Finally, they always had time to teach, discuss and share what they loved. They invited me in.

This notion of community has taken flight in our day in its diet form, called “Networking” a cold, hard, metallic word, stemming from its digital, internet era roots.
Of course, this “community lite”, or networking lacks all of the features of regular community in that it requires no knowledge of history, no interconnectedness, or shared concern. It only requires a “legitimate” platform, and a tangible “good or service” that can be exchanged or provided.

But I’m old school…a first generation city dweller with roots deep in the Mississippi mud. I am not ashamed to say, that I need my community. I was raised, as an eldest child by my father, and respect that position, for me, a girl child; it means that I will eventually take on the role of Matriarch. I have been well trained in the art of leadership, and gained experience at an early age in community service. Perhaps this fuels my desire for and need to create community now, in all aspects of my life.

This need, coupled with desire, and the encouragement of my unspoken community has led me to create a community of writers. Writers of Color. Intelligent Writers. Writers who can thoughtfully and legitimately give voice to the experiences of other people of color. Men who can humanely write about women, and women who can lovingly write about men. People unafraid to tell our stories in the true myriad of ways in which they occur. After our first retreat, I have already discovered a group of women who are kindred spirits in the ways of writing. We want, desperately, to tell our stories. Often times in hopes of self discovery, identity and in search of clarity. We are happy to have one another.

As the Kwanzaa holiday ends and the New Year approaches, I urge each of you to seek out your community. Where do you belong? Somewhere, there are healthy, loving folks, just waiting for you to fulfill your role. They are waiting to fill you in on their history, and guide you to seek yours. They are offering more than just exchange, and need more than your “goods and services.” The friendships that are a part of the LoveJonesLifestyle grow beyond simple levels of acquaintanceship and “social networking” sites. Friendships turn to sisterhood and brotherhood which create family which solidifies community. What community will you seek out in the New Year? Do you need to create a community? If so, where? Why? What purpose will your service serve?

No comments:

Post a Comment

How do you live YOUR LoveJonesLifestyle?