This issue includes two stories about photography. They are both about how we might tell history. One profiles a group of archivists in the process of collecting a representative sample of street art that emerged around the world as a response to the murder of George Floyd. [A third story — a series of photographic images and artist statement’s about them, appears in digital-only format.]
The database includes crowdsourced images of tags, murals, stickers, and posters — everything from an intricate mural depicting Breonna Taylor wearing a crown of flowers to the word “Mama” painted on the side of a building. The archivists hope the database will serve to exhibit the diverse viewpoints and messages that comprise this movement, underscoring that there is no such thing as a singular community voice or need.
The other story is from a woman whose work graces the cover of this issue. Carla Rodriguez has been stationed at the memorial on 38th and Chicago, making tintype photographs of and for the people who visit the site. She writes that wet plate, a process first used to document the American Civil War, reveals a different quality of light than we are used to seeing. Many of her subjects report feeling surprised by their images and pleased with how striking they appear.
I had never seen this process used outside of historical documents. Viewing the memorial, and those who are there in this light, prompts me to imagine how history will tell this moment and how those involved will look back.
“Sometimes we look back on history and the way that we tell the stories can become a little flattened,” says Dr. Heather Shirey, one of the founders of the Urban Mapping Research Project. “Selected quotes are pulled out and I think we don’t necessarily see all the nuance.”
I hope when future generations learn about this time, it doesn’t seem flat or inevitable.
One of our Tapestry contributors, Aaliyah Hodge, writes that this movement motivated her to apply to the Minnesota Social Studies Standards review committee.
“There is so much evidence suggesting that teaching history as a Euro American narrative causes students of color to disengage from learning,” she writes. “Students deserve to see their histories represented with dignity rather than in supporting or tertiary roles.”
Our September issue features the stories of people taking action in collaboration. Teams are responding to needs including food insecurity and homelessness, and are continuing to reimagine what true justice looks and feels like.
I am grateful to the collective team at Minnesota Women’s Press — seven of us actively work to get the revenue, book-keeping, design, content, and networking we need to produce the magazine and website. This month I was able to spend more time doing interviews, writing, and preparing grant proposals thanks to the team. That, really, is the point of this month’s theme. We all do better as a “together.”
I am asking for the help of our readers. Our ability to pay staff, reporters, and columnists, and our ability to create robust magazines and deliver to free distribution sites each month, is quite limited right now. Can you help? Our tax-deductible option for donations ends in mid-September.
Thank you to the 57 donors who have contributed to our tax-deductible storytelling fund so far. Reader support at all levels is crucial. Use this link.
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Tapestry — Working in Collaboration
Equity— At the Foundation: Ashli Henderson, Sheila Delaney, Huda Ahmed
Perspectives — Future Heirlooms
Art of Living — Mapping Urban Art
Spirituality — Rhiana Yazzie: Reflecting on Now
Sexuality — Sexuality Over Time
MWP Conversations — Voices of Collective Action, September 21 forum
Ecolution — Appetite for Change & Food Justice
GoSeeDo — World Night Market, Visual Translations
In the News— WoMN Act, On the Ground With Mutual Aid