If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
~ Shel Silverstein, Invitation
You are history. Your life holds the faintest imprints of centuries long passed. You are covered in the imprints of your ancestors and mine – their voices still drift in the wind, and the footpaths they bedded into the earth are now the sidewalks and roads we all travel. There was a beginning to each of our beginnings, and this why at this present moment, wherever you are in the world, you are history. History has made us, and as I type these words and you read them, we are making history.
But in the United States, it’s hard to hold history close to the chest without feeling it’s razor-edges and shroud of thorns. No matter your origin story, whether your ancestors were always here or if they were cargo on The White Lion, or passengers on the Mayflower, or arrived through Ellis Island, or Angel Island, or perhaps they crossed the border within this century, your being here is the result of a multifaceted heritage and legacy. None of us came to our corner of the world on our own.
Mockingbird is an invitation for us all to examine the trace fossils embossed upon us. History casts a shadow. It looms amongst us. It bends, curves, and rotates. It both adapts and resists – it suffocates and breathes. It’s complicated and yet as straightforward as can be. But above all, history demands to be seen, acknowledged and venerated. So that’s exactly what Mockingbird invites us to do: honor the fullness of our history.
Our GUIDING VIRTUES
Our role as spectators on the other side of history is to embrace the humanity of every human experience within it. In order to do so, we must as a community have common virtues to protect and guide us. Here are Mockingbird’s guiding virtues:
We hold the precariousness of every human story with tenderness and forgiveness, because we all are part of flawed stories. We meet every story with transparency and openness. No one—not even our heroes—is perfect. We are allowed to be weak as we grow stronger.
We value honesty and genuine connection by elevating diverse voices, asking earnest questions, and accepting the uniqueness of differing perspectives. We bring our experiences to history, allowing it to reflect a fuller picture of our truest selves.
We embolden our hearts to be encouraged, brave and bold in our acknowledgement of the harder parts of our history in order to know our full, unadulterated, unedited, uncensored stories. We trust in the light that is within us as we go through the darkness of our history.
We elevate our ancestors with respect, reverence and appreciation. Because we value humanity, we acknowledge the mistakes, exclusions and exploitations of the writers of the constitution, and hold them accountable for their every action – ones humane and inhumane, noble and ignoble, worthy of life and demeaning of life. To ignore the shadows is to value lies more than dignity.
We envision a worldwide community that cares deeply for humankind, unites in benevolent solidarity, generates humility, mercy, and empathy, and respects our planet’s history as part of our own story.
We approach our history with a sense of curiosity. We marvel at the lives of those who worked to overcome barriers and use their stories to fuel our imagination as we seek to reconcile our past with our present and future.