We are in A Time of Reckoning:
I am but one of the millions of people who is looking at the world right now with the same pair of eyes but a different way of seeing. It seems unimaginable that it has taken so long for our nation to arrive here at this moment of reckoning and acknowledgement. The centuries of hurt, the systems and mechanisms that were put into place, the behaviors and words and actions that have alienated, disenfranchised, and at times destroyed, BIPOC lives and voices. We, as a nation, have such a long way to go, we’ve let down so many. Black lives matter.
We took this past week to witness and absorb: to watch, look, listen and feel. We have begun looking into dark corners of our country’s history, getting uncomfortable, and we are asking ourselves about the next steps that we can take. Two things we are certain of:
1) We acknowledge that we are joining in with the strengths, energies, and actions of others before us to unite in a struggle that was initiated and worked for by countless others. We’re not sulking about the missed opportunities to serve, we’re not patting ourselves on the back for showing up, we’re rolling up our sleeves.
2) Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” We are learning. We are not perfect, but we are committed to “do better” and to show up each day.
Brown Parcel Press is a small company, just three women, who make paper goods. We are not politicians or lawmakers or local leaders, but we can still contribute. We are mothers and daughters, wives and sisters, friends and neighbors, and today our first step in “doing better” is to release our print, “Nurture Growth”, to raise money for a non-profit called Neighbors Caring About Neighbors right here in our own community. We live and work in Sparta, GA a one stoplight town in Hancock County. Our county has a population that is 72.9% black and a 30% poverty rate. It is a community that has been hit very hard by the injustices served to the black community through our nation’s transgressions, and the disparities of privilege that we see playing out on a national level are only too evident in our hometown. These disparities have been exacerbated during COVID-19.
Our hope with our limited edition letterpress print, “Nurture Growth” is that you will hang it somewhere that you walk past daily. We hope that it will be a reminder for you and/ or your friends and family to show up— to step up to the plate with compassion, empathy, love & an open and willing heart to work towards the healing and health of our BIPOC communities. It is not about being perfect it is about learning and doing better. Yes, we are all different (and thank goodness!) because these differences highlight that we can all contribute in different ways. It gives me strength and a reverent optimism to know that we can all take part and be a tool that is very much needed to grow a better world.
Please take a minute to read about Neighbors Caring About Neighbors (below) and to get inspired by their work. 100% of the proceeds from these prints will go directly to NBAC— if we sell out of the prints, that will be a total contribution of $700. That may seem small, but in our community the benefits that comes from those dollars WILL BE FELT!
Neighbors Caring About Neighbors is a local non-profit with a mission to “provide compassionate assistance and resources to those in need, especially the elderly and families with children”. A small group of committed residents, NCAC selflessly devotes themselves to show up for their community members in the ways that their community needs them. They build/ repair wheel chair ramps for the disabled, pressure wash homes of the elderly, pick up or carry away trash for the homebound, cut tree limbs, take individuals to the doctor, pick up prescriptions and groceries for those without transportation, provide uniforms to low income children, and pay utility bills for those struggling. With the spread of the coronavirus NCAC has begun an initiative to build 10 Blessing Boxes to provide food, diapers, and basic household items to those who have found themselves with nowhere else to turn. These boxes will be refilled twice a week.
Margaret Mead said,
“ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
When I called Della Smith, the founder of NCAC, to ask for her permission to release our print to raise funds for them, she was just about to unload a shipment of fresh produce that had arrived so that she could begin delivering them to the elderly homes in the community. Hancock County does have a food bank, but oftentimes the food is canned, non-perishable and meant to be shelf stable. Fresh fruits and vegetables are needed here, and Della is volunteering her time, energy and talents to bridge that gap. Ms. Smith is someone who embodies Mead’s words, and I’m honored that we can work with her and NCAC to try to make a positive impact right here where we’re planted. These small steps will add up!
Megan Fowler, Brown Parcel Press Founder