No one is Silent

By     Jul 24, 2014
Arts Program Coordinator, Lamp Community

Hayk Makhmuryan

“No one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this.”

I consider this a core principle. Ran into it at the end of a list of bullet points on How to Build Community a few years ago, and ever since a few copies of the list are always sitting on the counter alongside other flyers during studio hours at the Lamp Arts Program.

There are many tools for better community strengthening through arts (and I can't wait to get my hands dirty with new tools and perspectives during this fellowship), though, importantly, no cookie cutter approach. Yet it always involves listening; and aiding others to listen, too. I am very excited and honored to be in the same group with such an amazing group of individuals at the NAS CCF who are so committed to creating platforms for conversations and connections (cultural and social hearing aid?) within their respective communities.

Collaborative community piece from the Creativity Station we set up during February 2014 Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk

Collaborative community piece from the Creativity Station we set up during February 2014 Los Angeles Downtown Art Walk

So why core principles? And not just any core principles, but ones that are radical, uncompromising. I'm feeling out the term even as I type this. We're talking mission statement here. Has a lot to do with integrity. Clarity. With continuity and consistency. With predictability. These are all extremely important in my work in the Skid Row community, with one of the highest concentrations of homelessness in United States, where many parts of a lot of people’s life are completely unpredictable.

But besides that, I think radical core principles really work (and the simpler the better), because they go to the root of what you stand for, with no room for convenient mis-interpretation in favor of sterile utility and away from solidarity.

Rule #1: No one is silent though many are not heard.
Rule #2: If someone is silent, see Rule #1.

Clarity opens the door to ask the why and then HOW questions. How will we make sure that everyone is heard? How to balance it with the lack of resources? How will we stay focused along the way? Creative problem solving.

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