Re: [holistichelping] Lessons for Kwanzaa from Pyramid of Peace
- Dear Andrius and All,
Wonderful to hear from you, and what a fantastic and meaningful way to approach both Kwanzaa and our Pyramid of Peace project. There are some important and timely linkages that can be made between them, in particular reinforcing personal and communal values that can be found in Africa, the African Diaspora--and descendents thereof--and around the world.
There are many artists who have responded creatively to what happened in Kenya in 2008, and this project will help to carry on that legacy. In fact, there is an article on the ActALIVE website that I wrote on that subject, called "Rising from the Ashes: Kenyan Artists and Peace Activists Re-Create Community from Conflict," which was a feature story in the arts and development journal, "artishake", Issue #8. If you click onto the "Art4Development" page of our site, and follow the link at the bottom of the page, the full article is also there.
I hope that many of us will contribute creativity and thoughtful spirit to your own project. Engaging people via expression of their deepest values is marvelous, and can show the universality of hopes, fears, love, anger, and so much more that motivates and informs human behavior. I'm sure that specific connections can be made between Kenya and the south side of Chicago, both in terms of how violence comes about, and how it can be ameliorated if not transformed.
There is also a terrific project that is building bridges between Brooklyn, USA and Kenya: called Brookenya, it is another example of how the local can become the global, and vice versa, especially via creativity. See http://www.brookenya.org I know the creators-organizers, if anyone is interested in being in touch with them.
On the Kickstarter note, a recent film on HIV/AIDS, men, and condoms--about which I posted to Holistic Helping--was helped by the Kickstarter project. A $10,000 amount was raised to translate the film into another African language (it is already in several African languages), so that several million more people can more easily understand the messages of the film. Kickstarter is a great facilitator, and I hope you and we will be able to utilize it accordingly.
Peace and conflict are still very present in the Kenyan context (as they are worldwide) as issues, and what happened in 2008 might still occur again. This is why the peace-related efforts of individuals and entities remain so imperative, and lessons from the past are so important to (re-)learn and apply to the current time.
With blessings and happiest holidays to all, and a fervent hope that there will truly be peace on earth, as well as goodwill to all wo/men. Love and greatest appreciation, Janet
>From: Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...>
>Sent: Dec 18, 2010 1:59 AM
>To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, help group <email@example.com>, learningfromeachother <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: [holistichelping] Lessons for Kwanzaa from Pyramid of Peace
>Hi from Chicago. I'm going to have a booth at the Malcolm X celebration
>of Kwanzaa, which is an African American cultural celebration that takes
>place from December 26th to January 1st.
>Perhaps you'd like to add your thoughts and your creativity to my project?
>As an artist, I'm going to depict the lessons I and others learned from
>our stories of the Pyramid of Peace to avert genocide in Kenya in 2008.
>Recently, accusations were made in the International Criminal Court
>against six men suspected of fueling ethnic violence.
>I and others understood at the time that somebody was deliberately
>fostering the violence and we responded to good effect. I will tell my
>As I tell my story, I will focus on *how* I and others learned and grew
>and shared. I will also highlight our values at play, notably, our
>deepest values in life. I will be drawing people's portraits and
>depicting their values and showing how they might imagine themselves in
>our story. I will draw human figures with which I can also describe the
>events so we can discuss them. I will make photos and videos and that
>will help tell the story.
>Kwanzaa celebrates seven basic values of African culture:
>* Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family,
>community, nation, and race.
>* Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name
>ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
>* Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our
>community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our
>problems, and to solve them together.
>* Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores,
>shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
>* Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and
>developing of our community in order to restore our people to their
>* Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we
>can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than
>we inherited it.
>* Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our
>parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of
>the above is taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa see
>I'm going to focus on the values that we exhibited and note how
>Kwanzaa's values came into play, rather than the other way around. I've
>collected answers from hundreds of people about their deepest values in
>life, and I'd like for people who come to think about their own and see
>how theirs fit in among others, like stars in the sky, each seeing the
>whole sky from their own vantage point. Kwanzaa is a new celebration
>that I imagine is still finding its way. We lived through a profound
>victory in Africa that inspires reflection on values.
>In particular, I will note how the lessons I learned about engaging the
>violent in the South Side of Chicago were key for our success in Kenya.
>Monday, I will speak with organizer Jessica Holloway about my ideas. We
>already discussed that I might lead video bridges with Pyramid of Peace
>participants in Kenya and around the world. I also think there might be
>broader interest that could lead to support for a Kickstarter project
>that I might organize to document our stories, and ultimately, to apply
>our experience in new challenges.
>What lessons have we learned, large and small, thinking back? What
>stories would we like to tell? Who would we like to hear from? What
>creativity might we contribute to express our stories? I will tell my
>story, and certainly, I hope you might tell yours, likewise, in the
>Public Domain, for all to share creatively.
>I'm glad to hear from us!
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