Happy Fall, 2019. I trust you all had a healthy, restorative and creative summer and are ready for the new rhythms and routines of the semester. I love writing “from the hearth” as a message of gratitude to people who help nourish and sustain our community. This year’s message starts with a word of thanks to a committee of students and faculty who planned a full day Orientation Program for Cohort 19, which students Gladys Aponte, Leylah Bighach and Karen Zaino coordinated and facilitated. The incoming students were invited to make a collage depicting their personal journeys to graduate school. Their images and introductions were powerful, personal, and inspiring. We agreed that these images should be kept in a “time capsule” ready to be re-visited upon graduation.
In that same spirit, I chose an image from David Connor’s art exhibition in the Hearth to express how I want the UE program to be experienced: as a bright, bold, textured set of learning activities, stitched together with a vision of social justice.
I also want to thank Sara Vogel for experimenting with a new format of the newsletter as a means to keep us better connected and informed about program events and the lives of faculty, alumni and students. Her idea of having a page for “shout outs” is an invitation to recognize and celebrate each other’s accomplishments as well as our affection and appreciation for the people who support us. Thanks to Wendy Barrales for starting the ball rolling and setting just the right tone!
Finally, the summer was filled with loss and mourning: for Toni Morrison; the victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Midland and Odessa, Texas; for families separated at the border; and for the marking of the anniversary of 1919’s “Red Summer” (given this name because of the bloodshed caused by some of the worst white-on-black violence in U.S. history). I also chose Connor’s image because it reminded me of the comfort of quilts and the history of quilt making as a collective endeavor to honor the dead and bring solace to the living. This season, “from the hearth” is also “from the heart” with hopes for a season of healing justice.
– Wendy Luttrell, Executive Officer