LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JUNE 17, 2020
#PENUMBRASTRONG || A Letter from Sarah Bellamy, Penumbra in the press & more
Greetings Dear Community,
One day, I want to write to you and not have there be more death between my letters. One day I want there to be no death at all.
Do you remember having a cut or scrape when you were a child? Maybe on your knee or elbow. Somewhere that made it easy to keep bumping it and reopening the wound. Do you remember how long it took to heal? How the skin there was a different color even months after the scabs were gone? I feel so sore from where it already hurts and yet there is more.
How do we weather this when it never stops?
Rayshard Brooks was planning on celebrating his daughter’s eighth birthday before he was killed. He’d just taken her to get a manicure and pedicure for her little fingers and toes. He left one night and never came home. What must that feel like for a child?
Today my heart is breaking for Gianna and Blessing and all of the little girls and boys who will grow up without their daddies.
I want you to know that I’m heartbroken. I tell you that because maybe you are too and maybe you’re trying to be strong. It’s okay to be heartbroken. It’s okay to sob. Don’t let a sob choked inside steal your breath away; let it out and see what’s on the other side. Even if it feels like once you start you may never stop.
I want you to know that I’m afraid. Learning that Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch were found hanging from trees in California sent my body into a panic. I am afraid about what has been allowed in this country. I’m afraid at how bold hatred has become, how proud, how resolute, how legislated. I tell you that because maybe you are afraid, too.
I’m trying to remember what my mother and father did when I had a wound that wouldn’t close. I’m trying to remember the words they used to help me understand that my body would take care of it, that locked somewhere inside me was the power to heal.
I’m trying to breathe.
Knowing that you’re out there helps.
Knowing that you’re trying, too.
I’m going to keep sending love. It might be tear-stained and tired, but it’s what I can offer right now. Help me make the circle of love around us bigger? Soon we’ll need to put that love to work, but right now it feels like we just need a collective embrace, some semblance of protection.
Like our mothers and fathers gave us, promising the pain would go away, even when they had no proof.
With abiding love,
“How are we going to take the songs of all of this wonderful flock here and weave them together to create this great orchestra that will sing the song of healing? ”
—Seitu Ken Jones