Well, the performance is over. I never wanted this work to suggest that "now I know what it means to live in poverty." Empathy and understanding are lifetime goals of mine, goals that may never be fully realized. The fact of the matter is, after the piece was complete I got to go home, to my real home where the heat kicks on in winter-time and fresh water is only a few short steps away. For some people that idea of home will never be realized, and this piece simply keeps me mindful and motivated to help those people. I am truly blessed to have a warm bed at night and good idea where my next meal is coming from. Some people, many in this very community, do not share that luxury. I must never forget that.
I want to thank a few people specifically. Jason Lanka, thank you for being my mentor and my inspiration through the whole process of this piece. Zac Barnes, thanks for taking me to the gardens and showing me the power of food. Lee Wegener, thank you for exceeding all my expectations in documenting this piece. I want to thank my closest friends and family who have supported me over the years. A special thanks to UWEC and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for putting their trust in me, letting me use the space, and giving generously to my project in the form of a grant.
And Maria… where do I begin? I won’t even begin to list all the individual things you have contributed to this piece but I will say that you are my rock, you are my muse, and you are the love of my life. This piece would not be possible without you because everything I know of myself is not possible without you. Thank you for opening my eyes to so much world.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who visited me at the shanty, to everyone who followed my blog from afar, and everyone, everywhere, who fights on a day to day basis for social justice around the world.
To all of you.
From the more sincere corners of my heart