“When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel, photo by Scott Olson

It is undeniable that all our lives are diminished by racism.  I have nothing to add to all that has been shared regarding this horrible happening.  I stand as another witness to a valuable life lost, no justice, rage, confusion, clarity.  I think of how much of the richness of life we all miss by othering, by not listening.

This morning, on my way to bake pies, I took in a radio program about the work of John Paul Lederach, a Mennonite who has worked as a peace builder in many countries. He has mediated conflict resolution in the most unimaginably violent situations, both at the grass roots level and also at the high ranking political level.

“… we kind of close our eyes to the depth and the history of what has come before and how much of a challenge it is to create the changes that people are talking about…”
John Paul Lederach

I look around my city and constantly think about the long reaching reasons many people feel like they don’t have a stake in this community or in their own life.  I challenge myself: how does my work work to change this?

I cannot not think about my characters: Courcelle, Glenda, Henry, Grandma Lili. I think about what they went through in New Orleans. The difficult lives their ancestors faced. I think about those who caused them suffering, where they found meaning, how they created lightness.

Tonight, Elwyn and I listened to the songs of Joe Carter, a singer, educator, and scholar of the Spiritual. Hear him talk about the importance of these songs and how they are interwoven with our humanity and our shared American story at On Being.

Joe Carter — The Legacy of the African-American Spiritual

Finally, I am led to Louis Armstrong playing one of these same Spirituals, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.”

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About Nicole M.K. Eiden

I'm a New Orleans filmmaker.
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