Discrimination Is For Robots.

As many of you know,  I'm kind of guarded on facebook.  While my actor-ly predilection is for over-expression?  40-some years of life has taught me to be careful about what I say and where.  Today.  I'm going to be a little bit more candid.  

(JUST A LITTLE BIT -- don't get too excited.)  
So that's the teaser:  unguarded Andrew will emerge below.  But here's the purpose of the post:  This is my last post advocating for those of you who SHOULD -- to give to the Stark Color Picture Prize.

(I know that I have MANY many friends and family who should not give to this prize.  You live far far away and, for the most part, this is about a LOCAL solution to a LOCAL problem.  So if you're a faraway friend or family?  Stop reading.  Unguarded Andrew is not for you.  Not today.)

Those of you who are still reading?  I'll start with the good news again: This is the LAST post you'll read from me telling you about this cause that I'm passionate about.  

The kickstarter drive to fund the #StarkColorPicturePrize is almost over.  We have less than 70 hours.  Two days ago I had mostly decided that I had asked the universe and the universe had not responded affirmatively so I was going to be humble and focus on learning WHY the universe had not responded how I wanted her to. 

Then -- over the last two days a number of people have stepped forward moving us from 30% of our goal to over 50% of our goal (Thanks, TIM YODER for pushing us just over that mark!).  I decided that THIS was the universe clearing her throat and suggesting that I step back up to the mic for one last go. 

So here I am.  

*And* I am going to say the thing that I have not said yet: 

Stark County, Ohio...the place where I have lived more years of my life than any other place...is a racist, sexist, discriminatory, ethnocentric place. 

(ouch, hunh?  that doesn't seem like exactly the delicate way of saying it, does it?)

But I'm okay with saying it, because I don't think that Stark County, Ohio is unique in this regard.  I think that fear of the "other" and stereotypes about the unknown are true in every place and about all groups of people.  
People in Stark County are VERY *nice*.  But sometimes niceness has its limits.  

Many different kinds of things have shaped my life that have helped me understand what it means to be on both sides of discrimination, exclusion and small-mindedness.
Sometimes?  It feels good.

Unfortunately, THOSE feelings are not to be trusted.  Because anytime protecting your borders, demonizing the other and working to keep THEM at arms length?  Anytime that feels good?   That _good_ feeling is predicated on equal (or stronger) and opposite feelings of _bad_ for another human.  

And ultimately this cycle of fear and protectiveness and closed-fistedness can only predict more of the same.  And worse. 

But I'm not accusing you (dear, reader) of being the problem.  No ONE is the problem.  The problem is that these stories - of - smallness are so pervasive that they operate with invisible subtlety.   We participate in them, retell them, act them out in the smallest unaware gestures.  

The radical eradication of them is only possible if we are willing to actively acknowledge their presence around us and their presence within us. 

So I dreamed up this Stark Color Picture Prize because I thought it might give many of us an opportunity to imagine more stories together.  I want this prize to reward stories about people who are ethnically and racially diverse in Stark County.  I want this prize to reward stories about people who are LGBTQ here in Stark County.  I want this prize to reward stories about immigrants who have arrived here in Stark County.  I want this prize to reward stories about people who are differently abled here in Stark County.
I'm not going to re-iterate HOW the prize will do that.  If you have read this far? 

 I KNOW you'll be willing to click the link below and find out more about the prize. 

And I HOPE you'll consider doing one of two things:   

a.  donating -- even if it's a little bit -- the whole point of CROWDFUNDING this prize is that I wanted the prize to be a token of WIDESPREAD GOODWILL.   Little contributions mean the world in a case like this.
b. sharing about the prize in your social media spheres.  

Even though I've lived here longer than anywhere else in my life?  I've actually lived here for a very short time compared to many of you.  I don't have the widespread networks that you do.  You know people that might care about these issues and have the means to finish off the prize-raising tonight. So share.  

Oh wait: there's one more thing. (c.) I need your help tricking the robots of facebook  If you simply go to my facebook page, and click a react button (like, love, haha, so-sad) on this post?  The robots will mis-hear your click and THINK that you ordered them to show this post to MORE PEOPLE.  

Trickery is in general bad.  But not so much when it's leveraged against The Robots of the Future World.  
(sorry, robots, someday I'll probably want to end discrimination against you too.  but not today.)

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