So I took part in a story telling event tonight in Orange NJ, the city where I was born. When I was a boy, Orange was one of the towns on my hometown's border, and I had cousins who lived there and later in-laws, and I was born in a hospital there that unfortunately isn't a hospital anymore, just an empty building, or really building complex (though when I was born it was only one building).
It was great to hear stories from people who had grown up there and others who had moved there, and to be a part of the growing diversity of the city. The event was not just to raise awareness and money for The University of Orange, a "free" university, that serves the community, but also meant to be an Orange University classroom experience, which it definitely was, taught mostly by women with a few men, including my contribution.
The amazing thing was that just as we finished in one part of a firehouse turned into an arts center, another event in the bigger room next door was starting with Danny Glover as the main speaker. e started with a history of his family roots and their connection to his activism and then went on through his entire life making it clear how his activism came early and intersected perfectly with the acting he eventually took up. A beautiful articulation of inspiration and commitment and evolving awareness.
And double amazingly, earlier in the day there was a rally in another location for teachers and their return to their schools in Orange where the main speaker was Bill Cosby! What a day for Orange, and for which I am totally grateful to have been one small part. I urge anyone with an extra buck, or hopefully more, to check out the U. of Orange site and contribute what you can to helping this worthwhile project continue. Every little bit helps.