〰 The Notebook (Issue 24) 〰

The week of February 6, 2023

January is often synonymous with resolutions and resetting. Less commonly observed is January’s relationship to service. Following suit is February — Black History Month — the annual observance of the multitudinous African-American contributions to American culture.  Together, the first months of the year provide a great opportunity for considering our own relationships to history and serving our community. 

In 1994, President Clinton announced each Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day would be recognized as a federal holiday. Since then, MLK Day has been celebrated as the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service. The goal of prescribing “service” to memorialize King maintains the function of encouraging all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

In a recent blog post from Heather Cox Richardson, she encouraged us to shirk the idea that there are no heroes left in modern society. She posts instead that ... [heroes] are all around us, choosing to do the right thing, no matter what.” Like Dr. King. Rosa Parks. Sitting Bull. Anne Frank. 

And isn't it also the friend that shows up even when you don't ask? For the stranger who lends a helping hand? At its most essential, service is simply partaking in actions which recognize and honor the humanity of others. It’s being, as all worldly wisdoms ascribe, a good neighbor. 

In this new year, as you think about modes and methods of self-improvement, might you consider how conducting everyday forms of generosity has the possibility of changing your own life and someone else's. After all, worth bearing in mind is this wisdom imparted to us by Louisville's own Muhammad Ali: 

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."

The Sisters of Loretto will donate 650+ acres to the Bluegrass Land Conservancy.
The agreement donates hundreds of acres of land surrounding the Motherhouse so as to limit future uses of land to protect wildlife and habitat. The Sisters of Loretto, founded over 200 years ago in Nerinx, Kentucky, have long practiced conservation methods, including divesting from fossil fuels and raising grass-fed beef. Decades in the making, the announcement is joined by a proclamation of faith, noting that degradation of the Earth is the destruction of the sacred. To read or listen to more from Louisville Public Media on the Sisters of Loretto: "A 2-century-old Catholic convent is fighting for conservation in Ky." For more excellent reporting on the matter, an additional article was printed in the National Catholic Reporter: "Sisters of Loretto permanently preserve 650 acres of 'holy land' in Kentucky."

Promise Witness Remembrance  a book being hailed as "a vital addition to the Black American Art canon" documents the Breonna Taylor exhibit at the Speed Art Museum  has been listed on “The 18 Best Black Art Books of 2022.”

Culture Type, a resource focused on visual art from the Black perspective, notes the book is "rooted in community engagement [...] as a salve to the local community" and is full of thoughtful insights and commentary from organizers, curators, artists, and activists.

Efforts were led by Curator Allison Glenn, Community Engagement Strategist Toya Northington, Director Stephen Reily, Tamika Palmer (Breonna Taylor's mother), artist Amy Sherald, and Design Lead Annie Langan. The book includes over 200 photos and features the works of 22 Black artists. 

LG&E Continues Plans to Cut Through Bernheim Forest

LG&E released a plan to condemn a portion of land owned by Bernheim Forest for a new 12-mile pipeline to help with gas capacity and reliability. A recent Courier Journal article explains that the pipeline would run through Bernheim's Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor - an act which Bernheim says threatens a sensitive and lush forest ecosystem. LG&E says the proposed infrastructure is necessary to ensure future energy reliability to a growing Bullitt County population. For more information on where things stand, click through to an article from local journalist, Connor Giffin. 

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