Community

Pride Flags: Many Colors and Meanings

Photo from reddit

June is Pride month, a time of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community!

You may be familiar with the traditional rainbow pride flag, but did you know that there are many different flags that represent many different sexualities and gender identities? Here are just a few of them:

Photo from Como Mag

How has the Pride flag evolved over time? Here’s a little bit of queer pride flag history, courtesy of The Complete Guide to Queer Pride Flags by Ariel Sobel. Check out the article for even MORE LGBTQIA+ Pride flags!

Gilbert Baker Pride Flag

In 1977, Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, a veteran who taught himself to sew, to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community. His response? The original Pride flag. Inspired by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” these colors flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. Though some dispute whether Baker was the sole creator of the flag that started it all, its symbolism remains. Each color celebrates an aspect of queer Pride:

Hot pink =  Sex
Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sunlight
Green = Nature
Turquoise = Magic/Art
Indigo = Serenity
Violet = Spirit

1978-1999 Pride Flag

After the assassination of Harvey Milk, many wanted the Pride flag he commissioned to commemorate his accomplishments for the community and their personal support. The demand was greater than the available fabric, so the Paramount Flag Company began selling this version of the flag, as did Gilbert Baker, who had trouble getting hot pink fabric.

Traditional Gay Pride Flag

This is the most familiar flag. In 1979, the community landed on this six-color version, which was hung from lampposts in San Francisco. Numerous complications over having an odd-number of colors led to turquoise being dropped, at least according to reports. Read more about the modern flag here.

Philadelphia People Of Color Inclusive Flag

Noting that queer people of color are often not fully included in the LGBT community, the city of Philadelphia added two colors — black and brown — to the Pride flag in their honor. The city had previously faced accusations of racial discrimination in its gay bars, which led 11 queer nightlife venues to take antiracism training. Many white men were outraged by the flag, claiming that rainbow includes all skin colors, but with a star like Lena Waithe donning it at the Met Gala, it seems the design is here to stay.

Progress Pride Flag

This new flag seeks to take Philadelphia’s inclusive approach a step further. Daniel Quasar, who identifies as queer and nonbinary, designed this flag. The white, pink, and light blue reflect the colors of the transgender flag, while the brown and black stripes represent people of color and those lost to AIDS. “When the Pride flag was recreated in the last year to include both black/brown stripes as well as the trans stripes included this year, I wanted to see if there could be more emphasis in the design of the flag to give it more meaning,” Quasar explained on his Kickstarter.

Photo from USA Today

Here’s a great article about the history of Pride month for those interested in learning more about the origins of this month of queer love, resistance, and celebration!

Community

Theme of the Month: COLOR

Happy June!

This month we invite you to create and share art around the following theme: COLOR!

Here are some ideas to get those colorful juices flowing:

~Paint with your favorite colors, or colors you don’t often use

~Write a poem about the emotions of different colors

~Experiment with the absence of color, opposite colors, or light and dark colors.

~Craft a short story including as many colors as possible in your descriptions

~Take photos of some flowers in your neighborhood

~Create a colorful collage of magazine clippings

~Share about an artist whose use of color inspires or delights you

~Color the pages of a coloring book in an unexpected way

~And so many more!

Submit your work at https://arttransforms.blog/submissions/ or email blog@pathwithart.org

Submissions outside of the monthly theme are also welcome!

Community

In honor of Chris Cornell

May is Mental Health Awareness MonthSadly, Chris Cornell died four years ago. There is a bronze statue of him next to MoPOP, the Museum of Pop Culture, which I walk by frequently, usually on the way to a grocery store. I honestly knew nothing about him until I heard about the statue and how his death affected Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, a great champion of Path with Art. They were friends and often performed together.

Remember that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you need someone to talk with, please do not hesitate to reach out. One resource is easy to remember: call 711 or 1-866-427-4747 on your phone and you will be connected with someone.

While Path with Art is not a social service agency, one of my goals is to create a peer-to-peer support network. Like many others, I suffer from depression, including thoughts about suicide. You can reach me and others on the blog editorial team via blog@pathwithart.org. We really are in this together. Never forget that.

Community

A Refuge in Little Saigon

Seattle Clubhouse members

by Tim ‘Birch’ Schooler

The setting was a snowy day in Seattle, and things were fine since we interviewed by streaming video. The Seattle Clubhouse proper is near the corner of 14th and Main Streets in the Little Saigon neighborhood. Clubhouse staff opened on that day, though there was to be an earlier-than-usual closure because of bad roads from the weather.

The Seattle Clubhouse is a safe space where members living with mental illness can step out of the shadows of social isolation and into the light of a healing community. Through meaningful relationships, our Clubhouse members have real opportunities to reintegrate into society by becoming gainfully employed, pursuing education, and attaining stable housing.”

In the digital sphere of Clubhouse and prior to our interview was the occasion for several members to chat by video conference from their homes. Nik, a Clubhouse associate, provided details from working on the Recovery Times newsletter.

He organizes a monthly schedule for production. He has taken it from a rudimentary packet that went out on a quarterly basis prior to his arrival to a monthly newsletter. We sat by our computer screens, and I started by asking Nik about the evolving Recovery Times newsletter.

“I thought that we could expand it,” he said.

Since it is now published monthly, among the benefits of improved formatting, there is further engagement with the members in the work of the Clubhouse. Recovery Times has become a creative outlet for writing and for poetry of the Clubhouse members. Nik went on to explain, “We have a lot of people who want to write. It so happened that it developed that way.”

Prior to his moving to Seattle, Nik contributed to a book created by the Clubhouse in Hawaii. Nik recorded responses of Clubhouse members in meetings in Hawaii. After he transcribed their comments, they were added to the coffee table book. He “wanted to give something back” to the Hawaii Clubhouse. A copy of that coffee table book was presented to lawmakers to emphasize the importance of the Clubhouse to its members.

Seattle Clubhouse photo collage

Then as now, Nik wants to give a voice to people who might not otherwise have a means of expression. Fast forward to his time in Seattle and Nik had no prior experience with the software that the Clubhouse uses for the Recovery Times. He uses that application because it is affordable.

Nik also talked about the editions of the Recovery Times which is a printed publication firstly, but also has a digital distribution. He said that making something only as one thing does not involve more people. Print and digital editions of the same Recovery Times publications benefit members and include people who don’t have computers or smartphones.

Nik said that a Clubhouse member doesn’t need to think about buying a computer, and that is a benefit because computers are not cheap. Nik includes care for the environment as inspiration which is an important value with the operation of Seattle Clubhouse.

“There are no filters,” he said. Writers may submit almost anything for Recovery Times. “For the most part, it is what members want to write.” That is important since the philosophy of Clubhouse International means that staff and members work together and move toward mental health wellness.

Nik learned about bringing up the enthusiasm and abilities of the members. When a member mentions wanting to write about a Clubhouse event, he starts out by asking, “What did you do?” Writing follows from his prompts like that one. Nik then emphasized, with a smile, a Seattle Clubhouse member who always has a topic ready.

“A vibrant Clubhouse program in Seattle provides family members, friends, businesses, downtown stakeholders, and persons living with mental illness a low-cost option for gaining respect, hope, and unlimited opportunity to access the same world of friendship, housing, education, and employment as the rest of the community.”

Community

Becky and Baby

Baby the Goat

This is Baby. I came to meet him in a very unusual way. His owner’s sister called me for help. It seems the owner, a fifties-ish woman, was fleeing a domestic violence abuser. They had been sharing an inoperable RV on an urban farm. She’d had enough, so she had the RV towed to a place in Seattle both strange to her and uncertain as to safety.

I found her and within minutes I’d been introduced to Baby, who was sharing the RV with the woman, whom we can call Becky. Other than the oddity of Baby the Goat, Becky had lived a rather full life with a developmental disability serious enough that even she reported to being at about 3rd grade level on reading and comprehension.

Becky managed well in most other ways such as upkeep of the RV, fixing her meals, and so on. But the RV’s engine was a quagmire. It needed this, it needed that, and mostly these were guesses. Not so unusual in the world of vehicle residency where too many engines either stop working or never worked.

I took on sharing some of the many tasks with her that faced her. She needed the Benefits Law Center to straighten out how badly Social Security had messed up her status, such that they kept shrinking her allotment. For that connection we’d been helped by Mary’s Place. Becky wanted to get a battery and we had to drive 20 miles for the right size. She was still dedicated to getting this RV running. On the way back I made use of a colleague at Solid Ground to do intake of Becky into the Homeless Management Information System and to do an assessment.

Our Scofflaw Mitigation Team (SMT) partnership with St. Vincent de Paul provided Becky with one of their case managers. While all this was progressing, it was clear Becky’s abuser had learned where the RV was. She had it towed about 5 miles away to an old neighborhood of hers. Not exactly fooling the abuser who had his friend’s keep looking for her and once they did, to keep an eye on her. For our part we engaged the Sheriff’s Deputies. But she had to get out of the RV. It was never going to run. And it wasn’t safe.

My reaching out to Catholic Community Services enabled her to gain shelter, now being offered in a local hotel. On one of our drives to/from gaining her some supplies, I asked where she wanted to end up. “I just want a place where I can live and Baby can be there with me.” I asked, “what would you like to do once there?” She said, “I’d like to sew.”Bill Kirlin-Hackett

In each of us there is a wish, a dream, a vision, and it issues as fulfilling our deepest desire of what peace looks like. Our SMT knows that the homelessness system will not deliver that vision to Becky. So we’re putting out an “ad” through faith communities for some willing congregational-member family with some land on the fringe of town with an accessory unit on the property to house Becky and Baby, and then some interior space for a sewing machine.

It is an incomplete story, as most stories are. For now, they are both safe.

Bill Kirlin-Hackett
service organization partner and
member of the Program Advisory Board, Path with Art