First, let me say- it's not easy to blog with a toddler hanging from your neck like a monkey attempting to bang on your boobies like bongo drums.
I had yet another fantastically eye opening Asheville evening this past Saturday. I went to Haywood Lounge for Drinks & Dialogue- the brainchild of local social media man Timmy Smith. His goal with this movement is to get together with people from all walks of life, have a couple drinks, promote diversity & talk about why Asheville is so segregated. Here I am, talking about how "majorly diverse" this city is when in reality, the majority of us stick to our comfort zones around town. Without a doubt, it is a complicated & heavy topic with lots of thoughts & opinions. I was definitely intrigued to see who would show up & what would be said. There was a lot to hear & process. Which is why I sat back & simply listened for the most part.
The renowned Gary Charles of G Social Media & AskAsheville was there with his Flip (of course) & recorded a large portion of the discussions. You can watch all of them here on Timmy's blog. It's worth a watch & read for sure.
What I heard & saw & experienced that night reinforced my desire to know people as they are & not listen to the preconceived societal stereotypes I grew up around. Not that racism was blatant in Irmo, SC- it was more unspoken than anything. And that's the problem right there.
I guess the eternal optimist in me wants to believe that times are a changin' & not all people are that ignorant & close minded to believe that their race is superior than others. I for one, love people. I LOVE meeting new people & getting to know how they tick & what they're in to & how they live their lives. I love connecting & relating & discovering their passions. I love encouraging others to fully be themselves & to aspire to live their best life. (Thank you mama Oprah). It in turn, lights a fire within me to do the same- to embody my balls to the wall motto- to face challenge & opposition & stand up for something I believe in.
So I applaud you, Timmy for being brave enough to put this on the table so we can all evolve. You are being the change you want to see in the world. The ripple effect is continuing & it is more powerful than we can see.
I can't tell you just how big my heart swelled as I was driving home. Not only did we listen to one another, a bunch of us went out afterwards & just hung out at Desoto (where I had the most delish "Mutha Effin Sangria"). At one point I was laughing about nipple hair with one girl & dirty underwear on the floor with another. We were just people being people. It was refreshing & fun as hail.
(Just LOOK at all those beautiful people. Too bad I appear to be wearing a friggin flowery tent).
To read more about Drinks & Dialogue or get involved, follow Timmy @SocialLifeAvl & the hashtag #avldialog or #avldialogue on twitter. And if you don't tweet, go to the YWCA & see how you can connect or go to the Building Bridges of Asheville fb page.
Or just simply say, "hey how you" to everyone you see.
Change starts with you & me.