A letter of gratitude
My dearest ASTEP community,
As of July 24, 2014, I will be transitioning out of my position as Director of Programs for ASTEP in order to pursue a Masters in Divinity at Union Theological Seminary. I’ve spent the last 10 years learning from and with you about the role of Art in the pursuit of justice in our society. I am now looking to explore the role that creative believers in the divine can play in that same pursuit.
Like all of you who have stopped at ASTEP’s cross section of art and social justice in order to re-think, reconnect, and re-energize—I too am full to the brim by my ASTEP experiences and am ready to take forward what I’ve learned from all of you.
In 2011, ASTEP ran the “A Story Per Step Campaign,” where we asked all of you to reflect on what it was like to walk in your shoes and with ASTEP. In closing the campaign, Alejandro Rodriguez wrote a poetic medley capturing bits from all of your stories to honor our collective journey.
That poem is the best way to capture what my time has been like with ASTEP.
Take a ride,
I’ll tell you about a cheeseburger that lives inside,
about being denied,
about being caught with an open fly;
about knowing that success means understanding that we tried.
Take a ride,
to the moment that the magic hit you.
Every moment that you practiced,
learning to play like Mary-Mitchell;
with the same brilliant flare –
Or a story about ximena with the wind blowing in her hair.
About being drunk on life,
feeling god is everywhere;
about laughing with our friends when we saw a pooping bear.
And I’m not kidding.
I can tell you stories about too much hot pudding;
so much, we almost hack it.
About embodying a courage we know is everlasting,
and when we do,
knowing that it is sweeter than even the taste of mustard packets.
And bellies laughing – cackling,
so much that they almost burst.
Kicking and ripping, uh oh! fearing for the worst.
Wondering out loud, “whether to curse or not to curse…?”
You want more?
Hows about a story about a revolutionary war.
A nerdy teacher you adore,
or a cap gun that is broken,
thanking god for Dylan Moore!
And i mean really,
for really really –
like a one legged deck swapper wondering what the dilly,
or tapping in the center isle finding substance in the silly.
Like beauty in a rose,
or milk in our nose,
or a concert with a rapper who mostly wants to pose.
So I thank you in the only way i could,
cause you gave us even more than we hoped you would;
stories about lost hoods and forgotten woods,
about working for the good of change and about changing for the good.
And I reckon that I got much more to mention;
getting jiggy with some stranger,
singing songs about digestion…
But before I end it,
I just thought i might mention,
thanks for taking a step [with me] –
in the right direction.