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A Moment for Courage

March 29, 2020
Dino Korca, Director

Dino Korca, Director

Dear community and friends:

It’s been little over two weeks since my lockdown in a New York apartment, but it feels like a lifetime.

The current of events — and the way we make sense of our circumstances — are evolving so rapidly that, even as I draft these lines, I cannot know which will hold true tomorrow or the day after, much less during the weeks and months ahead.

“Existence flows past us like a river”, wrote the Roman emperor Aurelius centuries ago. “The what is in constant flux, the why has a thousand variations. Nothing is stable, not even what’s right here.”

And for all that remains uncertain, it’s the courage to continue that counts.

With a crisis of this magnitude, we all wonder, what can I do? What can we do? Over the next days I’ll be focused on finding ways to directly support and respond, but I don’t have all the answers. If you want to help or have any great ideas, please reach out to me here.

While we all face a long road ahead and practice social isolation, we need art more than ever to help us find comfort, hope, and a sense of unity. With this in mind, we have worked with our partners at Google Cultural Institute and LIFE Photo Collection, to organize a series of stories and a retrospective online exhibition of one of our greatest Albanian-American photographer Gjon Mili. I invite you to explore the exhibit, titled Picturing Greatness that includes portraits of actors, dancers, legends of the time, artists and many other stories from a different era to help lift spirits and shift your attention to something bright during these difficult times. I hope this collection of stories and Mili’s extraordinary life inspires you as it did me.

As we navigate the uncertain times together, each one of us should choose to trust scientific data and healthcare experts, and rely on information from trusted sources.

We need caution, and courage, and calm.

No time for despair, no room for fear, in Toni Morrison’s words of wisdom. We have more of a responsibility now to look after family, protect our mental health and show kindness to each other and to ourselves.

I want to end with a thank you. Thank you to our frontline healthcare workers, from doctors, nurses, teachers to scientists and cleaners, military service members, police and firefighters, and everyone doing heroic work day and night, risking their lives to save lives, in New York and all over the world.

That’s courage.

We are grateful for you! As the Irish prime minister put it “Never have so many asked so much of so few.” We must support them, they will need all our love and gratitude.

Still I Rise
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
— Maya Angelou

While it is impossible to know how long this situation will last, I know we will come through on the other side. When that great day comes, I will be there to welcome you to a new gathering in a new world.

Wishing you good health, wherever you may be, courage, and a good dose of optimism.

Dino

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