Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Love You, Black & Gold": An Open Love Letter to Pittsburgh

View of Downtown Pittsburgh from the West End Overlook
by Marcel L. Walker (that's me, folks!)
LAST WEEK I attended an event at The Union Project in Highland Park in commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. It was wonderful. The level of community participation was high, and by all accounts the event has grown bigger, better, and more popular with every one of its fourteen years. There was discussion, creative activities, singing, and food, all of which were shared in the spirit of fellowship. It was a truly uplifting event.

I participated in the love-letter writing activity. The organizers provided letterhead adorned with different quotes from Dr. King and gave us a prompt, written directly to the attendees, as an example of what we could write. The sample letter thanked us, told us that we were loved, and encouraged us to keep the world around us in mind as we moved forward. We were allowed to write to anyone we wanted to, which was surprisingly daunting. One of the organizers explained that an earlier participant had written a letter to the 1960's, which inspired me. This could be more abstract than just telling a single person how much I loved them. And it could be bigger.

Not wanting to be outdone, I chose to write a love letter to the City of Pittsburgh. The writing went on for two-and-a-half pages and only stopped when the food was served. What follows is a slightly-expanded upon version of that letter, which was debuted at the PAGE open reading series last night in Lawrenceville.

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