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Re: pledge of allegiance

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From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Jul 29 2002 - 19:58:17 PDT


Subject: From: Madafo@aol.com
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 13:34:07 EDT
X-Message-Number: 21

Sorry...I've been gone awhile, played at a blues festival which was quite
fun. Though it was 101 degrees in heat, and a tornado touched down just
outside the fest grounds without good view that sent us all scrambling
before the headlining feature band was to play and close out the fest. What
a trip!

At anyrate, I'll spend more time tomorrow trying to read thru your post
Madafo. For some reason, it is "html" challenged and many letters and
digits make it somewhat difficult for me to read at this time.

I will share this with you though. I have a unique experience, which makes
it fun for me to live in NE conservative primarily white Wisconsin. My
natural mother remarried when I was three. I was separated for quite
sometime, living with my father. I was reunited, that is..as an adult, with
my mother when I as about 24 years of age...or 24 years ago. She remarried,
and married Howard Johnson. Howard was the "Paul Schaefer" type or the band
leader of the original Saturday Night Live.

Howard is perhaps one of the blackest black men I've seen. He has played
with Taj Mahal, Levon Helm and the band, traveled two years with Paul Simon,
and has a more recent jazz cd out called, "Gravity" where Paul Schaefer
actually plays along. I have a half brother whom I'm quite proud of. A
computer graphic artist whom I feared was killed 9/11 as he worked for Chase
Manhatten on the 76th floor...and did not tell me just several months before
he switched to work for a company across from the Empire state building. He
lost two friends in the towers...and it took me about 3-4 hours to find out
he was alive.

He is also a broadway actor, having gone to the school that the movie and
series "Fame" came from...and has dabbled with music and movie scores.
Howard has done a few scores for movies.

My half-sister too is quite black, very proud of her African ancestry...and
is a major player in the Lesbian/feminist movement. She has a blues band, a
CD out, and is known as "Bigmouth Girl". Her band plays at many of the
major Womyn festivals.

She knows that I am a Christian....yet knows that I love her very much, and
am quite proud of her talents. She too is impressed with mine, and my son
whom is an artist/musician in Chicago. He was in a band that was up for a
"Dove Award" for best hard band, best hard song a couple years ago.

He lives in a community of 500 called the Jesus People USA in Chicago...and
they have about eight businesses from plumbing and contractors, to a
recording studio, to an international magazine. JPUSA has been around for
about 20 years, and they have had about 12 major bands part of their
ministry. All monies raised support a teen crisis pregnancy center, a
shelter which is especially busy during the winter; they feed about 300-400
homeless daily, care for elderly...and I'd say a good percent of their
members are black.

My mother was quite fretful when our relationships were restored, to let me
know who she had married...but to her surprise, it did not matter to me at
all. Perhaps that is one of the benefits that being an artist/musician
tends to bring. An open mindedness.

My life has been an interesting play of paradoxes. The world doesn't
understand me and is quick to judge me because I'm a Christian. The church
doesn't understand me, perhaps because as an artist/musician I have appeared
to buck the system, sometimes the rebel. I have managed to get kicked out
of about four different churches in my 20 some years of being a believer,
and have been a youth pastor three times.

Perhaps a bit of prophet spirit in me as I speak what I see and believe.
Sometimes that gets me in trouble.

At any rate....I can assure you that it might be a mistake for anyone to
quickly come to any rash judgments to know anything about me....though,
perhaps some of yours may have some ring of truth to it. I will read more
carefully tomorrow thru it. I just thought I would share where I'm coming
from. You know...living where I live...in hick redneck ville... I too know
a bit of (though only a bit by comparison) of the sting of prejudice,
because no one here would understand my love and acceptance of my
half-brother and sister...or of her lifestyle preferences. Also, I am quite
aware of those in the black community that have a bit of prejudicial
problems with persons like my half-brother and sister that are part white.

All strange isn't it? But....one advantage we have as artists is that we
appreciate diversity, right? Its quite possible to rise above the culture
around us.

Oh...btw, the breast of my mother suckled some of the babes of your ancestry
as well so it would seem! hee heee!!! peace my friend!!!

Larry

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