The Notebook (Issue 6)
View this email in your browser

The week of November 30, 2020

"I find it helps to focus on concrete situations: You see faces looking for life and love in the reality of each person, of each people. You see hope written in the story of every nation, glorious because it’s a story of daily struggle, of lives broken in self-sacrifice. So rather than overwhelm you, it invites you to ponder and to respond with hope.”

THIS BEAUTIFUL IDEA is from Pope Francis’ op-ed in the New York Times. The passage is a great reminder to focus our efforts on being a part of the solution locally, as well to meditate on the global interconnectedness of this work. To begin, with the holidays upon us, we can each respond with hope by working to limit the spread of COVID-19. This is also a key time to think about our contributions to our community and how we each play a role the great challenges we face locally.

This past month, we celebrated one of our city’s most inspirational leaders, a leader whose hope is written in bronze, the great Ed Hamilton, as he was honored as 2020 Louisvillian of the Year. You can watch his acceptance speech below! His great appreciation of the history of Walnut Street and storytelling through his artwork is key to our city’s cultural health. Understanding the history that Ed keeps is incredibly relevant in this moment of our city’s great reflection and searching for a way forward.

During this holiday season, we have more solitude than ever, perhaps. Richard Rohr recently wrote a very timely piece for each of us called, “Thomas Merton: Contemplation and Action: Merton’s Call for Racial Justice.” It does indeed feel like a critical time for both contemplation and action. Merton’s words remind us that each of us must call upon the great spiritual wells within to find a higher sense of justice, then match that with the fire in our bellies to do the work!


Watch Ed Hamilton's, Louisvillian of the Year, acceptance speech here

WFPL LAUNCHED a new podcast. "Race Unwrapped," hosted by WFPL's Michelle Tyrene Johnson, explores the way race and identity shape our city and world. In the first episode, Michelle speaks with Sadiqa Reynolds. You can listen here
PLEASE JOIN Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Communications Group, and leadership in our field across the country by reaching out to Senator McConnell if you're in KY, or your elected official in your home state, to support this bill that currently has bipartisan support and is currently led by Senators Cornyn (R-Texas) and Klobuchar (D-Minn). Please see a summary of Save Our Stages (SOS) and an outline for speaking points for calling your elected officials here.
THE BERRY CENTER and Change Today, Change Tomorrow have joined together to combat food insecurity in Kentucky, in a wonderful acknowledgement of community interconnectedness. Through the Berry Center’s "Our Home Place Meat" initiative, hundreds of pounds of healthy, high quality beef, raised in Kentucky, were donated to Elva's Kitchen Initiative to help feed individuals and families in Louisville who have been harshly impacted by food insecurity - a problem which has only been exacerbated by COVID-19. Elva’s Kitchen Initiative, supported by Change Today, Change Tomorrow’s extensive network, arranges for volunteers and chefs to distribute fresh food to Louisville residents in underserved communities. We are thrilled to hear of efforts such as these that exhibit Health and Harmony in action.
LOUISVILLE MAYOR Greg Fischer calls out A Path Forward in his recent release of a racial equity plan, outlining work to be done in the areas of public safety, children and families, employment, Black wealth, housing, health and voting. Read more about Mayor Fischer's recent announcement here
SOIL IS one the most underrated, and little-understood, wonders on our fragile planet. Far from being lifeless dirt, it’s estimated that in a single gram of soil, there could be as many as 50,000 species of microscopic organisms, or microorganisms. And in one teaspoon of soil, there are more microorganisms than there are people on the Earth. Watch this video form the Royal Society to learn how special soil is.

THE CO-IMMUNITY PROJECT, a collaboration among U of L, the Louisville Healthcare, CEO Council and three Louisville health systems, uses random virus testing for individuals and wastewater testing for communities to find the true extent of the pandemic in Louisville and see who may have had the virus previously. The latest round of testing has shown the numbers are rising. 

In June, Aruni Bhatnagar, director of U of L's Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institue, explained why random testing is important to show the true extent of the virus in the community. 

"Much like a well-designed political poll, we have to be careful to ensure that the test results from a group of people mirror that of the larger population," Bhatnagar said. "Only this can give us a real picture of who has the virus, and who has had the virus."

The Wastewater testing team was included in the NYTimes piece about the importance of looking to more anonymous insights to determine the health of our communities: "This sort of system could be valuable in ways that go far beyond catching outbreaks of infectious disease. Sewage monitoring could look for signs of antibiotic resistance, diabetes prevalence and other conditions that are hard to capture outside a hospital setting."

Sign up for email updates to receive The Notebook outreach!