Thu, Dec 17, 2020

Helen Aldana

Helen Aldana - Coordinadora de Programas Interculturales

2020 Reflective: A Thank You to Our Collaborators

What does community look like in a time of isolation?

This is a question that I had asked myself when I was first introduced to We're Still Here at the MAH (remember that? we had it up this year). C3 organizers and leaders came together to learn from our elders the meaning and value of community as folks experiencing isolation in our county. After months of reading their stories the question, in my mind, then evolved to what can I do to hold community when there is isolation?

Last week, Ashley wrote a love letter to MAH staff & those who attended our events. This week, I wrote a love letter to our collaborators.

So, what did we do to continue to hold community this year? We took the learnings from our elders and put it into practice. We reached out to our beloved collaborators and asked them "how are you?"

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They responded honestly. We at the MAH are experiencing challenges like many of our collaborating individuals and organizations. We recognize that we all have the goodness to offer one another and that it is important to give, always. Our collaborators have given much of themselves over the years for our programs, exhibitions, and growth as a whole. This year was no different. We worked together to help one another thrive (as best we could) in a pandemic. We gave what we got. The MAH Secret Garden was filled with dancers and paintings of beautiful healers. Evergreen Cemetery had altars and musicians honoring loved ones who have passed. You filled our empty spaces with art (and a whole road). Our website had stories written and recorded by educators, artists, and leaders in our county.

Thank you to our dear collaborators - of our past, present, and future - for trusting us to be with you through the good times and the hard. With your trust in the MAH, you fill our cup that we hold lovingly.

What I've learned over the years of working with the community is to be the person that helps others feel safer. This year, it looked like this: respect social distancing, wear a mask, continue to ask "how are you?" to yourself and others. Isolation has been real for many before COVID-19. To speak on both, with love and care for others neither isolation or this pandemic would exist. When this is over, remember to stay together and help others stay together. Thank you collaborators for making 2020 another year of community.

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