Karin Downs * 16 Seagrave Road, Cambridge, MA 02140 * (617) 833-2911* firstname.lastname@example.org
“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” Cornell West, Race Matters
June 30th, 2018
Dear Friends and Family,
Now, in my 14th year of participating in Wilderness Heals, I start my letter with gratitude, to each of you who have donated to the Elizabeth Stone House in support of my hike, and to those who have wished me strength and grace all these years. Last year, I raised $7,638 (just shy of my goal of $8,000) bringing me to nearly $65,000 since I started fundraising in 2005. The depth and breadth of your generosity continues to amaze and humble me. I am setting the same ambitious goal of raising $8,000 and THANK YOU in advance for your part in this. I am starting my fund-raising so late (just three weeks till the hike) – so, this will be especially challenging for me.
This year as I reflect on why I come back to this hike each year, and I consider the community of healing that the Elizabeth Stone House has created. A community that has benefited all who are touched by both the immediate and extended circles of support they have created. I also reflect on how all of us, whether we recognize it or not, have been affected by violence, hatred, bigotry and racism. Committing to dismantle racism and work for racial justice can feel overwhelming – and yet, each day, in some small way, there are actions we can take, words we can say, connections we can make that contribute to building communities of healing. I see the work of the Elizabeth Stone House and Wilderness Heals as healing organizations that recognize the trauma of racism and other forms of violence and take action to heal individuals, families and communities. You can learn more about ESH at: http://www.elizabethstonehouse.org/.
So, why do I hike? Well, to quote Michelle, “when they go low, we go high!” (to the mountains!). And yes, I hike to support resilience and healing, I hike to connect to the work of the Stone House, I hike to connect with friends, celebrate my ever expanding family (welcome Daniel!), I hike to connect with each of you who have donated to or supported me over the years, I hike to raise money for ESH so that they can continue to build a healing community, and of course, I hike because I believe that indeed, Wilderness Heals.
This year, I dedicate my hike to Shanti and Daniel who were married on May 5th. Their marriage brought together multiple strands of families – Ballards, Boua, Downs, Gold, Hopton, Killoran – who all held them and celebrated this new phase of their journey. As we danced on a river boat in Boston Harbor, we played “I will survive” – so apropos of the resilience within each of us. Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYkACVDFmeg.
This year I am also hiking on a team with my friend Pattie – we are both part of the ‘Zy Street Writers. We’ll leave the name a mystery – you have to call one of us and ask us about it. And, when we have another reading of our poetry and prose, we will certainly invite you.
All year I have continued to make and sell chai with all sales going to the ESH. So far I have raised $2000. I continue to refine the recipe that I first learned from the “Chai Didi” in Nepal, and encourage those of you in the Boston area to pick up a latté at Boston Brewin’ on Bromfield St. in Boston https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=boston+brewin+coffee+boston+ma or Commonwealth Restaurant in Kendall Sq. http://commonwealthcambridge.com. And of course, I sell chai directly to any who ask.
Once again, I am hoping that those of you who are able, will donate to my hike to provide support for the ESH. And, if this is not a time for you to donate, I welcome your well-wishes and warm thoughts. I can’t do this without your help.
Feel free to reach out to me – with questions about Elizabeth Stone House, the hike, what I carry in my pack (not much, but it is all important), what I eat (a hot topic among hikers, right now fresh cherries are a favorite of mine), why I am going to Portugal (for a colleague’s wedding), or to see pictures of Shanti and Daniel’s wedding! I tried to add them to my Wilderness Heals website, but they are too large – but, if you ask, I will send you the link.
Love to you all,