Right before I moved to New York, I heard about an event Macy’s was putting on in honor of Black History Month. I had a lot of fun at the last Macy’s event I went to, and this sounded like a great way to jump in and start getting to know the city and the people in it, so I decided to attend.
I tell you, nothing says “you’re not in Utah anymore” like attending a Black History Month event in the big city. There was a great turnout, and it was fun to be amongst so much diversity.
After a welcome from Macy’s Senior Vice President, Bill Hawthorne, the event centered around a panel discussion and exhibit about the legendary Gordon Parks. I have to admit, I don’t think I’d even heard of Gordon Parks, or the Gordon Parks Foundation before I came. One of the first things I learned about him was that while he would have been 100 last November (he passed away in 2006), he was actually a stillborn. When he was delivered in 1912, Dr. Gordon (after whom Gordon Parks was later named) decided to immerse him in water. It was then that his heart started beating. Can you imagine?
I guess Parks was known for often stating, “I was born dead, and I’ve been hollering ever since.”
And holler he did. Gordon Parks was a storyteller. After teaching himself to take photographs, he decided he could do anything—write books, poetry, etc. He did photographic essays for Life Magazine and even directed a movie.
The panel discussion brought out some celebs—but would you expect anything else in New York City? It was led by CBS correspondent Michelle Miller. Panelists included Kenny Leon (the director of “A Raisin in the Sun”), Omari Hardwick (star of the series “Dark Blue”), Malik Yoba (best known for his role on “Cool Runnings”), and Malinda Williams (from the series “Soul Food”). It was really cool to hear about the different ways Gordon Parks had inspired these people in doing what they do. Here are a few of the quotes I liked from them:
The thing we take from Gordon Parks is the power of ‘I can’ on an individual basis, and the power of ‘we can’ as a whole.
[Gordon Parks] knew he had a fear of failure, and he knew he would spend his life chasing down that fear.
Chase the purpose, not the paper.
You’ve got to know why you want to do what you want to do. Once you know that, the rest will align.
It makes me think about how many people like Gordon Parks are out there, just doing what they do and being who they are, and in the process, changing the world around them. It is so inspiring. It leaves me in awe that there are people out there who are born with this sense of determination and raw grit to make things happen, and who are true to that every day. It makes me want to be more like them and really make a difference and leave my mark, just like Gordon Parks did.
After the event was over, I decided I should probably get a little shopping in. Of course, since the event was held at the legendary Macy’s at Herald Square (yeah, THE Macy’s), I HAD to.
One of my main goals after moving to New York was simply to not stick out like a sore thumb. That meant I needed a new coat. And what kinds of coats do New Yorkers wear? Long, black, down, puffy coats. It’s like a uniform. I wish I had gotten a picture of the rows and rows and rows of black down puffy coats at Macy’s, or the hoards of people scrambling to buy one before the big storm (Nemo) hit the next day. I must have tried on a bajillion of them before I settled on this one. It’s lightweight and not very bulky, while still being nice and warm. I’m feeling a bit more like a New Yorker already.