TAP Letter in Response to Systemic Racial Injustices

Artist: L’Merchie Frazier. Images left to right: Quilt: from the Target Series, “I Matter;” Photograph: Protest Rally, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in Franklin Park, Boston with Shattuck Hospital in background; Quilt: from the Target Series, “I Matter”

The Transformative Action Project/Violence Transformed exists and remains committed to its mission to address the impact of violence, trauma and crisis on individuals and groups through the vehicles of mindfulness and the creative arts to support the evolution of an equitable society.

In light of recent events TAP shares in the outrage over the injustices in the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and many other black, brown and Indigenous people across the nation and their families, who have suffered the impact of systemic racism in America. These events have shined light on a topic that demands much more attention.

TAP/Violence Transformed is in solidarity with those who struggle with the weight of these persistent forms of racism. We commit ourselves as partners in the ongoing struggle for racial justice. In our work to promote the value and voice of every human being we acknowledge that structural inequities have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity must be eradicated and makes clear the necessity of our commitment to countering those inequities that have spanned generations since the inception of this nation. Events of recent days remind us of just how urgent this work is and that it will continue to actively help advance anti-racism efforts for a fair, diverse and equitable society.

Mindful practice and participation in creative arts is our critical vehicle for social justice and social change. We stand to promote equality. We invite all to join with us in our work as we actively unite and collaborate with those who support this vision. In solidarity we invest in the hope of coming together to mobilize our resources for positive growth towards a more racially, socially and economically just future.

6/2/2020
L’Merchie Frazier
On behalf of the Staff of the Transformative Action Project

CLICK HERE for an open letter from the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA), a major funder of TAP activities.


 

ZOOM Drop-In Meetings: TAP Moment of Art-Making ~ Hope Scrolls

  • TAP Moment of Art-Making ~ Hope Scrolls

HOST: L’Merchie Frazier
Recurring Meetings on Wednesdays: May 6-May 27, 2020 at 9:30 AM – 10:15 AM

JOIN IN A TAP ZOOM ART ACTIVITY: A COLLAGE ART WORKSHOP

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
                                                                                                            ~ Benjamin Franklin

BRING TO THE WORKSHOP YOUR HOPEFUL THOUGHTS AND ITEMS TO RECYCLE THAT YOU MAY HAVE: A pair of scissors, 2 inch to 3 inch tape, old or new newspaper clippings, old or new magazines, fabric or cloth from clothes to be discarded. Recycle these items, learn the art of collage and tell your story of hope and survival. Join me, L’Merchie Frazier, Director of Creative Engagement in the Hope Scrolls Workshop on the 4 recurring Wednesdays.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/9912164011?pwd=OGwxelBVUWNnUmdGZWJvZjVNcGw1UT09
Meeting ID: 991 216 4011
Password: 9TZ5zu


Upcoming Poetry & Art Workshops with L’Merchie Frazier

Women with histories of incest and sexual abuse attended a recent workshop with TAP artist L’Merchie Frazier in January 2019 at The Women’s Center in partnership with TAP. Journeying in a safe space together, a small group of participants used poetry and collage to explore their experiences, and express their best selves.

View the January 27th workshop flyer.

TAP will be offering three additional workshops in the coming months. For more information, contact tap@violencetransformed.org.

TAP @ The Friday Café, First Church in Cambridge

The Friday Café is a welcoming space at TAP’s partnering organization,  First Church in Cambridge, where homeless and insecurely housed neighbors can gather and get to know each other. It offers food and coffee, rest and resources to people living on the margins – but most importantly it offers community. At the Friday Café, people experiencing a wide variety of life circumstances can relax, share a meal and talk together as friends.

Rev. Kate Layzer, Director & Founder of The Friday Café, wrote a personal reflection on a recent workshop offered by TAP staff to the Café community:

TAP staff L’Merchie Frazier and Keena Banda (L-R) at a recent workshop for survivors of trauma and violence offered at The Friday Café, First Church in Cambridge

“We were honored to welcome TAP staff L’Merchie Frazier, Barbara Hamm & Keena Banda to the Friday Café last week for a free poetry, mindfulness and fabric art workshop in the Harter Room. This was the first time we had offered a program outside the main room of the Café, and we weren’t sure what to expect, but quite a few of our guests responded to our invitation and took part. Participants learned about the haiku form, and began to write their own haikus; they also began to practice placing cut pieces of fabric together to create something new. These workshops are designed to help survivors of trauma and violence confront, express, and transform the impact of these painful experiences in their lives by means of art. Learn more at the project website. TAP will be returning to the Friday Café on January 25 to continue working with members of our community.



TRANSFORMATION

I know our community pretty well, and I knew that inviting people to make art as a response to past violence in their lives was going to be a hard sell. At the same time, I knew that pretty much every guest in that room is living with the effects of trauma. This workshop was designed with them in mind.
 
So when I took the mic to give my pitch, I did something I’ve never done before in that space: I outed myself as a trauma survivor. I didn’t go into detail. But I let the community know that we had that in common. If I had turned to the volunteers who were present and asked how many had lived through trauma or violence—of course I would never do that!—I’m sure there would have been quite a few other hands raised.
 
Empathy draws people together. If we’ve been through hard times, hard times become part of us forever. We never forget what that feels like. If we’re lucky, it doesn’t make us hard: It makes us want to befriend other people who are hurting, and to lighten their loneliness a little. Our lifetimes listen to each other, as Margaret Peters puts it, and in that listening, we both feel more a little more at home in the world.
 
I wonder what sadness or struggles from the past have become a part of your composition. I wonder how those parts of you resonate with our neighbors at the Friday Café, and whether our life in community is playing a role in your ongoing transformation.
 
I know I am so grateful to the Friday Café for bringing all of us together—including many of you whom I would probably never have met otherwise, but who have moved me and enriched my life in so many ways. Thank you for that! Thank you for all you are, for all you do, and for all you give.

”

~Kate
 

The Friday Café is open every Friday from 1-5 pm, September through June. For more information, visit https://www.thefriday.cafe.

The Big Idea: Youth Centered Self-Exploration and Discovery Workshop Series

Utilizing Mindfulness and Art-making practices, The Big Idea workshop series spans 8 weeks and offers a series of crisis intervention activities  designed to support building participant competence to explore identity, resilience, self-discovery, and transformative power in the wake of exposure to violence. We strive to create a safe and creative environment through mindfulness training and art-making.  This series will culminate in an exhibit created and curated by workshop participants.

View The Big Idea workshop flyer.

This series is co-facilitated by TAP staff L’Merchie Frazier, Barbara Hamm & Keena Banda. For more information contact tap@violencetransformed.org.