Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
Last night, Kelly and I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by our charitable partner, the Mississippi River Fund. It was one in a series of events called River City Revue, with the theme of the night being “No Blues for Adelabu.” The night was led by Amoke Kubat, a community organizer and artist who shared aspects of her Yoruba culture with us. “Adelabu” is her Yoruba name, and it means ‘crown (consciousness) across water with success.’ There was music, poetry, a film screening, and a ceremonial offering to the river at Bdote, a spiritual center and place of much contention and history…. And did I mention that all this happened on a steamboat on the Mississippi River? It was amazing, to say the least.
One of the coolest things about our park is its ability to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. So often, we see middle-class white folks using the park and volunteering. This was an evening designed to bring in other members of the community, and the success of the night demonstrates the river’s incredible ability to unite. When you live with the river everyday, you can forget how important it is to us today, how it always has been and always will be. Remembering its powerful and sometimes painful history also serves to remind us of how connected our lives are to the rest of the world. As the river flows to the gulf, supplying water to 50 cities and serving as the watershed for almost half of the 48 contiguous states, it touches countless lives. It flows into the gulf, and eventually those waters reach the oceans. The impacts of our actions here can be felt thousands of miles away.
By the end of the night I felt inspired and humbled, as I often do when I’m truly connecting with the river. I was reminded of why I love these cities and the river, and of my responsibility to foster that same love in our community.
I was also reminded of just how photogenic I am (not at all).