I’m sitting here, 15 floors up in my hotel looking out of my window from the city of Oakland. The Warriors won Game 3 last night. From this perspective I can see everything that is happening on the ground. Cars driving on the interstate. People who look like ants walking across the street, and the orange glow of the sun from behind the shadow of a mountain.
I have had the privilege of participating in the National Alliance for Media, Arts & Culture (NAMAC) Alliance 2016 – a gathering of filmmakers, funders, community organizations and activists in Oakland. I found out about NAMAC from Felicia who runs the Create Daily. I actually had the opportunity to meet Felicia in person for the first time:
I had the opportunity to experience Virtual Reality for the first time via Google, and learn directly from Google about what’s happening in the space. I have had conversations about spirituality and the role that it plays in healing, process and future orientation. I have watched black men dance, spit poetry and ask an audience “When did you fall in love with hip hop.” I have listened to Sarah Cromwell from the Destiny Arts Center remind us that we have been “doing things from the neck up for too long” and to remember our bodies. I have been inspired, I have been stirred and I have been affirmed in ways that I couldn’t imagine in a city that reminds me of home, and in a room full of strangers that are so familiar – who remind me of the people that I love the most, that are truth-tellers, connectors, educators and soldiers. I met the best photographer I’ve ever seen in my life, Brittani Sensabaugh from East Oakland who is so cold behind the lens. Check out here work here. She recently documented on the South Side of Chicago. I met her the day after someone talked about the work of Gordon Parks… NAMAC is a community of people who are doing the work…
We ended our day with networking and during my spirituality conversation, I shared that I believe that spirituality sometimes more than acting is about observing. I described a spiritual experience that I had recently and described the power of “signs.” I then scanned the room and quickly noticed that above the bar there was a music note. I then pointed out the sign to the person I was speaking to, who immediately made the connection. God has a way of reminded me constantly that I am on the right path and that I am exactly where I should be, when I should be.
I’ve never felt comfortable embracing the term “leader,” because leading has often happened at the expense of “followers.” We did an exercise yesterday where we opened up with what our superpowers would be or which superhero we’d be. I referenced Professor X because although Professor X has his own superpower, he is most known for helping other superheroes master their superpowers and I believe that is my role in this world. I am grateful for this time to “zoom out,” to look at my work from a distance and to hear from and connect with so many others who are on the ground. For more information about NAMAC click here.