Respect differences in race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age.
Support social justice.
Enjoy the arts.
Tell people, “Thank you.”
Don’t trip on stupid shit.
Disagree with any of the above and add your own.
—Lee Oscar Gomez
Lee feels belonging at South First Fridays in San José. He works nearby as a barista and knows some local gallery owners’ drinks of choice.
Everyone picks a color and brings an ingredient of that color. Together you all figure out what to make. Somehow, it all works out and is so much better than anything you ever could have planned.
I'd like to take you on a tour of the downtown Berkeley I knew when I was growing up, but much of it is gone or changed. You can still go get a slice at Arinell's Pizza, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original cockroaches are probably still there. Grove Street is now Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and all the bus numbers have changed. You may be able to find traces, mosaics outside doors, names engraved in handles, signs emblazoned on buildings where Kress and Hink's and Magnin's used to be. The clock that is never right still hangs outside Wells Fargo, and there's still a grand, gilded bank inside. The library and the high school are still there, and you can see the older parts within the remodels, renovations, and expansions. You have to look sideways at things, to see what's been adapted, covered up, layered over. Squinting this way, you can imagine how the town has changed over time, and how it might change in the future.
Show your values clearly, and work to enact them.
Say “Thank you.”
Offer food and drink and spaces for people to gather.
Let people sing, clap, and dance.
Encourage people's contributions and find spaces for people to bring their gifts.
Angela seeks belonging in spiritual places in Berkeley while recovering from long-term illness.
Many days I cannot get out of bed. When I am stuck in bed, I practice contemplative prayer (meditation from the heart) to savor the drops of belonging I have fullness experienced in nuggets here and there on better days. When I can sit up or even stand, I create collage and paintings that help me integrate the spiritual and emotional nutrition of belonging, and metabolize and release what does not serve me. I work on a piece for months, even all year.
Ride bike through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach, try to take the middle road where cars are not allowed. Find a sand dune overlooking the beach and ocean where you can be alone. Find a comfortable place to sit. Stare out at the horizon, at the light changing at the space where the water meets sand, focus on a wave, feel the wind, let your mind wander. Watch the sun dip beneath the horizon, how has the light changed, the temperature, the sand, etc. Bike home in the dark.