SARAH SCOTT IS A HUMAN, AND AN ACTIVIST

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Your Name: Sarah Sunshine Scott

Age: 39

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Occupation: Arts Coordinator, Heartside Gallery and Studio. Also, Mother.

Where did you come from? A convict and a farm girl, born at home in Grand Rapids in 1975

A Fear: Watching the neighborhoods I live and work in turn to shit from gentrification

A Goal: To work part time at a place I love, have time to nurse my baby and make art with my ten year old, to garden and to figure out how to love.

A Memory: Nearly failing out of high school and the first year of college and then falling in love with printmaking and having one serious BFA show.

A Mistake: Getting married. This does not reflect on my ex husband or me having a child with him at all. I mean the act of getting married. My gut told me otherwise and I didn’t listen. I’m not religious and I didn’t need a piece of paper to bond me to another person, it was never a childhood dream of mine. I’m learning to listen to my gut more now.

A Hero: Grace Lee Boggs, Lynnee Denise, Jane Van Dommelen.

A Fault: I worry so much.

A Talent: I’m a damn good mama.

A Prized Possession: My printmaking press.

A Need: More time to myself and to learn to throw my phone in the garbage.

I want More: Quiet, connections.

I want Less: Scheduling

What would you change about the world? More sharing of and listening to each other’s stories, more systemic looks at poverty and the ridiculous rate of mass incarceration, more digging in and less head nodding.

What do you love about yourself? I don’t give up, ever.

GAIL HANSON IS A HUMAN, AND A MOTHER

GAIL HANSON

Name: Gail A. Hanson

Age:  43

Location:  Grand Rapids, Michigan

Occupation:  I evaluate training / motivation materials.

Where did you come from? Born and raised in Southern California.

A Fear:  Never accomplishing something of significance. Leaving my boys without a legacy they can be proud of and not being remembered.

A Goal:  Write a book. I’ve started more than once. If only I could finish.

A Memory:  One of my favorite memories of childhood is riding my lavender bike with the white basket to the library. Filling that basket with books for the week and then riding to the grocery store for ice cream or candy. This is what summer looks like. Even though every trip was a little different I remember them all as one collective snapshot. And, I’m always smiling and happy with the sun beating down.

A Mistake:  I will always regret not finishing college.

A Hero:  My older sister for making the raising of children look easy even when it was hard. Single mothers never get enough credit for what they do.

A Fault:  I think I know everything and therefore I am always right. I do not and I am not. (Don’t tell my husband I admitted that.)

A Talent:  I can crochet.

A Prized Possession:  An old broken manual typewriter that belonged to my father. Once it was my dream to use it to write my novel. It reminds me of how he believed I could do anything. I still long to have it repaired.

A Need:  Patience.

I want more:  Time and energy to enjoy life with my family and friends. The introvert in me is always searching for quiet places but I also want the boisterous moments with those I love.

I want less:  Stress and worry.

What would you change about the world?  I would change the prevalence of prejudice; eliminate the hate crimes that accompany racism. Bring about justice for the marginalized. Recent years have shown too many instances of injustice. I worry for my boys and what the next generation faces.

What do you love about yourself?  Such a tough question … I love my sense of humor. The moments when I can feel light in laughter. It doesn’t happen nearly as much as I would like but still I feel my best at those times.

JASMINE LOWELL IS A HUMAN, AND THE WIFE OF A PASTOR

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Name: Jasmine Lowell

Age: 43

Location: West Olive, Michigan

Occupation: I work at Hope College as the administrative assistant to the Dean for International and Multicultural Education.

Where did you come from? Singapore. I grew up in Singapore, and came to the US as an international student to attend Michigan State University.

A Fear: The unavoidable day when I lose a family member to death.

A Goal: For my marriage to flourish until death parts us, and for my sons to grow into honorable men who love God and love people.

A Memory: The moment my oldest son was born, I was struck by my instant love for him. The love I felt for him was not due to what he had done for me, nor based on his character or personality. It wasn’t even due to anything I had done for him. My love for my son was birthed from the relationship between us. My son – my flesh and blood. That was the first time I understood and could emotionally connect with God’s love for me. Nothing I do or don’t do can stop God from loving me. He loves me simply because I am His child.

A Mistake: When I was younger, I always compared myself with others to the point where I was dissatisfied and lacked confidence in being myself.

A Hero: My parents. They worked hard and sacrificed much to provide for me and my sister. They’ve not had it easy. When I was 5, they lost twin baby girls – stillborn – but they got through that without turning bitter, and got through that painful time by continuing to live life one day at a time.

A Fault: Pride. I’ve always tried to be good – to do the right thing. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on my motives. If it stems from pride and I’m trying to perform or please people, that’s not necessarily the right motive. I need to do what is right, motivated by love.

A Talent: I am musical and athletic. I love playing the piano and singing with our music team at church. I also love sports. I played a sport called netball from 4th grade until I graduated from high school. There’s no netball in this area, so I settle for being as active as possible with whatever opportunities come my way, whether it is roller hockey, tennis, biking, basketball, etc.

A Prized Possession: My wedding ring.

A Need: I need to feel secure and loved by my husband and sons; to know that each of us will be committed to our family unit, and will love faithfully with sacrificial action.

I want More: Visits to Singapore: to see my family, enjoy the fantastic food, catch up with friends, and soak in the beauty of the city and culture on that sunny island.

I want Less: Bills and household clutter.

What would you change about the world? The brokenness. I want the world to live life in the way of love and truth. To know we were created for a purpose, and that the only way to true freedom living is the way of love, the way Jesus taught.

What do you love about yourself? I am an optimist. I am easy going, and attempt to be a positive influence on people around me. I try to assume the best about everyone and strive to not dwell on the negative.

SHANNON JAMMAL-HOLLEMANS IS A HUMAN, AND A REVEREND

SHANNON JAMMAL-HOLLEMANS

Name: Shannon Jammal-Hollemans

Age: 38

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Occupation: Collaborative Program Developer for the Christian Reformed Church

Where did you come from? Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have not ventured far.

A Fear: That in my efforts to serve the Church, I am sacrificing too much time with my children.

A Goal: To be one of the many people who makes the Christian Reformed Church a place where everyone belongs.

A Memory: About 12 years ago, I was driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside Asheville, North Carolina. It was still the early hours of the morning and it was completely dark. My husband slept beside me in the passenger seat while my children slept in the back. I drove through one of the tunnels carved into a mountain, and when I came out, the sky was alive—vibrant yellows and oranges and pinks and reds. I began to cry so fiercely that I had to pull over. God was before me, face to face. I was at once devastated and jubilant. God’s grace has never been so clear.

A Mistake: I used to think I could change people, and spent far too much time and energy trying to do so.

A Hero: Malcom X

A Fault: In my introversion, I can push people away.

A Talent: Trivia

A Prized Possession: My tweezers (I am an Arab woman.)

A Need: Grace. Lots of it.

I want More: Courage

I want Less: Fear

What would you change about the world? More belonging, justice, and grace.

What do you love about yourself? I am beautiful. Like, really, really beautiful. It’s a gift.