Monday, June 15, 2020

Week 43: Pick a Pinwheel

Last week, during an interview with Woman's World magazine, I was asked what inspired me to start the Kindness Countdown in 2014 and why I coordinate this blog alongside the kind acts. I've been asked this question many times, and my answer always includes two pieces:
  1. I remember my parents turning 40 so I viewed my milestone birthday as an opportunity to impact my children while making some fun memories while helping others (the project), and
  2. Unfortunately, Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation and we were in the middle of some particularly turbulent times, the local and national news seemed to focus on nothing but negativity so I wanted to do my part to give people some happy things to think about and maybe nudge them to do the same in their own community (the blog).
Point 2 obviously resonated with the interviewer last week. Race relations have continued to be the #1 topic in the nation since May 25, when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. People all over the world are listening, questioning the status quo, looking inside to challenge themselves to do better, and coming together. 

This week I wanted to celebrate that. 

Last week, over 30 local artists in Milwaukee were give the OK to turn a storage building on North and Holton into a memorial in the form of murals as a way to heal and inspire. I took my kids there this weekend (it was incredibly moving) and we tried out best to leave some joy behind, across the street. 

I took 50 of the 100 pinwheels my youngest and I had assembled for a project I have planned at the end of this month and commandeered them for this week instead. Then I created a yard sign with the following message:


Take a deep breath, now exhale. In this moment,

watch the colors and light dance and shine.
Carry your pinwheel home and remember:

Life is precious!
Live it to the fullest!
Let your colors and light shine for the world to see!

My kids and I found a small grassy area across the street from the art memorial, we placed the sign in the middle and then filled the area with pinwheels for passers-by to help themselves to. 

We were there when the first pinwheel was picked. The woman smiled big as she selected her favorite color, read the sign, turned to me and said, "Who doesn't love a pinwheel? This is great!"

I know this isn't much. I know we have a long way to go.

I wish I could fix our city's/nation's problems right now, last month, 400 years ago.

I can't. 

But I can keep loving, listening, and looking for ways to help.

I can continue to ensure my children have diverse experiences to learn from so they keep on listening, loving, and looking for ways to help too. 

And I can pray for peace, love, understanding, and change. 

Those things I vow to do.

Will you please join me?

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