Renew Your ROOTS: Gratitude, Grounding, and Growing

S. T. Shimi presents a wooden bowl to honorees at ROOTS’ 40th Anniversary & Reunion. Photo: Melisa Cardona.

Renew Your ROOTS is an invitation to our members and friends – old and new – to reflect on what ROOTS means to you, and what you mean to ROOTS. How, as artist-activists, does ROOTS renew you? And how do we, as a community, keep ROOTS renewed?

As we close out 2017, we know that, in the current political environment, renewal is especially essential. We are up against a lot, and we are in it for the long haul. From November-February, Renew Your ROOTS will move us through three stages of renewal: Gratitude, Grounding, and Growing. Each stage offers different ways to engage in the work of renewing Alternate ROOTS.

We’ll offer up gratitude for the unique and vital gifts Alternate ROOTS cultivates in our lives, communities, and world. We’ll ground ourselves in the foundation of our organization: our robust and committed membership. And we’ll enter into the new year ready to grow: we’ll continue growing the breadth and depth of our membership, we’ll lean into our growing edges – the ways we as a beloved community are evolving to more fully live out our mission – and we’ll grow the ways we sustain ourselves financially.

(L-R) Lisa Q. Mount, Andrea Assaf, Linda Parris-Bailey, and MK Wegmann at ROOTS Week 2017. Photo: Melisa Cardona.

We begin with Gratitude.

We are grateful for you, our members and supporters. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to share space, art, and fuel for our collective freedom throughout this year at ROOTS Weekend-Richmond in April, ROOTS Week in August, and ROOTS Weekend-Atlanta in September. We are grateful for a deep Delta launch of the Intercultural Leadership Institute in Mississippi this past March. We are grateful to this beloved community of artists and activists from the South and beyond who are committed to building a better world together, through art and activism.

We are grateful that we remain a fiscally healthy organization, for the support offered us by individual donors and foundations. We are grateful to have the ability to directly distribute $510,605 in 2016, and $389,149 so far this calendar year to individuals through our programs and services, such as Artistic Assistance and Partners in Action, knowing that each dollar we put in the hands of artists is matched by a wealth of creativity and generosity in the communities our members live and work in.

We are grateful for our fantastic, hard-working, joyful staff and Executive Committee. We are especially grateful this year, for the nine years of service Carlton Turner has offered this community as our Executive Director.

What has ROOTS brought into your life that you are grateful for? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with the hashtag: #Grateful4MyROOTS. Share photos, videos, a few words and, when you post, tag 4 ROOTers or friends to spread the gratitude.

If you find that you’re so #Grateful4MyROOTS that you want to make a financial contribution, you can donate here!

Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.