The Trees are Crying


I made this painting to honor and give tribute to mostly forgotten and ignored caregivers. The Mom whose son has Autism was especially specifically on my mind.

The general public expects us to be strong and stoic. Never asking for help or even admitting that we also have hopes, dreams and desires. Caregivers are seen as some sort of Superhuman Superheroes. Except that Life is not a series of comic book panels where the Hero can regenerate themselves. We get sick and we die.

We die with our Needs unmet and our Voices forever Silenced.


When we’re in trouble there’s nowhere to go and nobody to turn to. Who cares for the Caregivers?always our Voices are lost because no one hears our cries.

Holidays are especially difficult because you’re under pressure to do so much. Expected to do activities that you can no longer do for whatever reason. Abandoned by family, society and government. .


Yet you Learn Silence with a Smile because that’s what is wanted of you. Like a trained seal that balances a rubber ball on its nose in order to get a stingy ration of one thin bony Fish. Now clap then disappear so that the rest of us can continue in undisturbed comfort.


Tears at The Oasis

Pause for Thoughts


Pause for Thoughts


This week’s True Highlight


For me this week’s true Highlight happened at the local laundromat in conversation with the mother of a 15 year old son who has Autism. Mostly me listening as She detailed her battles with the City, State, Department of Education, and Housing plus having to work full time. Once I told her that my brother Stephen has Autism and I shared a few photos She felt more at ease to unburden herself.

Periodically She had to call her Son via cellphone to make sure that he got on the school bus. She discussed her hopes and dreams for her Son, Daily Challenges and not enough family support. Her parents the boys grandparents do help but they are getting up in age.

I would guess Her to be in Her late 40s and just like any other young woman She occasionally likes to go out after work to relax with coworkers. However despite the fact that she pre cooks meals that can be easily microwaved her family members who Live in the same building don’t heat the boys food for him resulting in the young man calling his Mother all evening meaning No down time or relaxing for Mom.

I could tell that She is Overwhelmed. In terms of trying to care for my brother Stephen I’m overwhelmed but you must disregard your issues and try to figure out what to do and which way to go.

In August the boy stays with his Dad in the Caribbean. Mom’s only break.

.

No self care. Self care is a joke if you have a developmental disabled child or sibling because even if you don’t Live with the person you are on call 24/7/365. That’s why I personally don’t take any long term or far away trips.

This Mom lives in Public Housing and receives Section 8 which is a city program that provides housing vouchers to low income People. Now this is the type of Housing that this Mom and Her Autistic Son endure, falling ceilings, leaks, broken toilets, peeling paint etc… Yes this is how the city treats this hard working Mom. In New York City you can work yet not be able to afford proper housing.

She also has to instruct her son on how to deal with school bullies. Bullying is a big problem in American schools and bullies pick on any child who looks or acts different.

As far as the Department of Education is concerned they are quick to disqualify your child from much needed services and programs.

Even though I am not Stephen Mom as a sibling who has attended numerous meetings over the last 30+ years it’s a constant battle against budget cuts.

Also I’m getting older and you all know what that means. I choose Not to discuss any of my health or medical problems because #1 this Blog is not a pity party and my health issues are nobody’s Business but mine. However obviously as you age there are less and less things you can do meaning that lately I miss more meetings. Not a complaint but a true realistic statement.

For those of you who have been with me for a while you know that I’m constantly on the phone to our Elected officials trying to get programs and services restored. You know that both Stephen and I along with an advocacy group went up to Albany which is the New York State Capitol where Governor Cuomo resides to meet with as many Elected officials as possible. You also remember a few years ago when on a cold March day I joined myself to a demonstration to protest against budget cuts. We protested in front of Governor Cuomo Office in Manhattan.

Oh Yes I can relate so well to this Mother’s struggle for Her Son. The lack of services for both caregivers and family members who have developmental disabilities. For us there is no respite.


We folded our clothes put the laundry into our respective shopping carts. Talked a little more outside in the cold and this Mom looked so sad that we had to part ways. Each to our own block. Each returning to our own individual struggles and hardships but knowing that at least for a little while we were not alone in Our battles.

AweSome AweTism Adventures Art Project


 

 

Stephen's finished Photo Picture Collage
Stephen’s finished Photo Picture Collage

 

Stephen's Collage in Progress
Stephen’s Picture Collage in Progress

 

 

AweSome AweTism Adventures Art Project

 

 

Where I’ve been and Where I’m Going

August 16th after ten years of service I retired from the museum.

I’ve had the privilege to be surrounded by beautiful lovely wonderful art on a daily basis as well as excellent co-workers who are artists. Being around gifted and talented people stimulated me to start creating my own artworks of Mixed Media Collages and eventually acrylic paintings. This gave me the opportunity to participate and exhibit in several exhibitions.

Some of my paintings and collages:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UbhMM99bxqpJYN5o7

Now that I’m retired I’ve decided to devote even more focus and determination towards my artwork. Back in April I opened my Etsy Shop.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SurrealDealArtworks

I’ve also identified a building on Fulton Street near Rockaway Avenue as a potential Art Gallery.

 

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/J4Sfo4iAJ3QLn7tu8

https://photos.app.goo.gl/J4Sfo4iAJ3QLn7tu8

 

There are many artists in my neighborhood but perhaps they don’t have a place to exhibit and sell their art. I want to change that. Manhattan does not have a monopoly on art galleries.

Brownsville/Bed-Stuy has been classified as working class and of course the neighborhood has it’s share of Homeless Shelters, halfway houses and folks receiving government assistance. Poverty does not have to be an obstacle. If the people here especially the young people have an art center where they can come to create and display their artwork it will not just change the neighborhood but will change their world. Creation gives you a purpose and an element of control over their lives. Here is a clip from the documentary Humble Beauty “Skid Row Artists”

https://youtu.be/k_b5yxP8pYw

Art Activism

In order to make this happen I’m asking for a donation of $125 or whatever you can afford

This will help me build my base. My foundation. So that I may be a credit and a help to my neighborhood and expand my program to Queens. My future plans are to extend my program to Ghana where a young Ghanaian woman operates a Center for Children and Adults with Autism.

 

Art Autism and Activism

I’m especially interested in returning art to adults with Autism because my brother Stephen Palmer has Autism. His training Center AABR located in Jamaica, Queens, NY had to lay off the Art Teacher due to budget cuts. AABR has the space. The classroom is available but no Art Teacher. I want to fix that by giving Adults with developmentally disabilities the opportunity to explore their creative abilities.

Below is an example of some art Stephen has created. Once of his favorite artists and influences is Basquiat. Stephen created the photo picture collage at my house during a home visit. I’m determined that Stephen should and must have art in his life therefore when we spend time together we often got to the Brooklyn Museum as well as other New York City area museums. I keep art supplies in my home so Stephen can create to his hearts content. However Stephen’s friends at AABR may not be fortunate to have family or friends to give them an art opportunity. Therefore I intend to rectify this situation.

 

 

stephenpalmerart
Stephen Palmer painting

 

My desire is that you will be able to make an investment not just in me but in folks who don’t have a voice to give them a voice through art.

Thank you.

DeBorah Ann Palmer

ROAMING URBAN GYPSY

https://roamingurbangypsy.com/

 

You may contribute via PayPal using my email address: deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

 

Twitter

@Dancingpalmtree

http://twitter.com/dancingpalmtree

Pinky: “Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?”

The Brain: “The same thing we do every night, Pinky—try to take over the world!”

 

 

 

 

Awesome AweTism Adventures


 

Awesome AweTism Adventures

 

Lately I have been getting lots of ideas for educational programs that Stephen and I can do together. I even came up with a name for our Sibling Adventures:  Awesome AweTism Adventures. In my dreams I see Stephen and I as AweTism Ambassadors or Ambassadors for our beloved home New York City. Sibling Ambassadors!

My hope is that one day I can get funding for a program that features Stephen and I doing Trail/Town Talks at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Botanical Gardens, South Street Seaport and the many attractions of New York. Perhaps even to visit upstate New York places like Saratoga, NY where we explore and take our readers/viewers on a journey. I see us creating videos and artworks based on our travels through out New York and the Tri-State area. Now that I’m getting quite close to retirement I want to do something meaningful. Something that can make a difference in Stephen’s life, mine and other AweSome AweTism Adventurers. Hopefully God will lead us to private and public funding for this venture.

The program would run from May (Stephen’s Birth Month) to October.  I believe everyone should be allowed and given the right to live up to their full potential.

First steps are to register, Trademark and incorporate the name AweSome AweTism Adventurers.

Will let everyone know of further developments.

 

 

 

 

Good Facebook News


 

 

Lately many on WordPress have taken to bashing Facebook. Of course it’s your choice whether to join or not join as the case may be however I have found Facebook to be helpful to me in certain cases.

My main purpose in using Facebook is connecting with friends, family, former and current co-workers.  I have found school classmates from 45/50 years ago! Facebook is the easiest way to set up meetings, get-togethers, parties, etc….. There is no way in the world you can know everyone’s phone number or email nor do you have the time to make that many phone calls. Also it is a way to share important news via Facebook Messenger. That’s how I found out one of my former co-workers had died a few months ago.  If another co-worker had not let us know on her page I would not have been able to attend the viewing/funeral. Despite it being a sad affair because the woman who died was only 54 I did get to see co-workers I had not seen in nearly 20 years. Basically you really only see people at weddings or funerals. Lately for me mostly the latter.  Many of my friends have gotten married, moved outside or New York City or live too far away for immediate contact. Also my museum and my Union DC 37 has their own individual pages that distributes relevant news to Union Members. It is also a place to ask questions and voice concerns. Yes we do have union meetings but the museum has three separate locations and various shifts and those of us not in the Main Building cannot attend the Union Meetings.

Also you have a better chance of contacting me via Facebook rather than calling or emailing me. I work long strange hours however I check Facebook every day. I also check my email every day so either are good in my case.

In terms of business, marketing and promotional use I use Facebook now to showcase my photography blog Roaming Urban Gypsy.

https://roamingurbangypsy.com/

 

Black Genealogy Page

 

One Mothers Day several years ago I posted my Maternal Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks photo on the Black Genealogy Page. Now this page is not just for African-Americans. Many whites go to the page in search of their Black ancestors. One such white lady saw my Grandmother’s photo and contacted me. She was actually searching for her Black son who had died but who had left behind a daughter. Her goal was to find family connections for the little girl.

This woman had information on my grandparents and Great-grandparents including death certificates and newspaper articles that I would have never found on my own.  She still lives in the West Virginia town where most of my maternal family members including my mother were born. Turns out we were not related but we became friends and I’m always happy to hear from her on Facebook.

 

Autism Activism

 

In May of 2015 the New York Times published an article about me and my brother Stephen. I posted the article on Facebook and it went Viral!  My friends, family and co-workers share it on their pages and everywhere. The result: Jan. 2016 while at work I received a phone call from Gov. Cuomo’s office personally inviting me to a Paid Family Leave Rally in the city.  Next year starting Jan. 2018 the state of New York will have Paid Family Leave for all it’s residents!!  Booyah!!  I’m not going to reprint all the past links but if you search between May 2015 and Jan. 2016 you’ll see all the work I put in along with my team to help achieve this goal.

Now if I had published the same New York Times article on WordPress which I did eventually I would not have gotten the same result mostly because most of my Subscribers/Followers on WordPress are from countries outside the U.S.A. and this news would not affect them or have any meaning. Even those U.S. Followers/Subscribers most of them are not from New York again my news would have not meaning so there would be no reason to share.

Also every last U.S. elected official has a Facebook page. This is how you contact them. That’s how I communicated with the representative for Stephen’s district. Many times this is easier than all the phone calls I’ve been making.

Conclusion

Facebook has many benefits if you use it in the right way.  Activism and Advocacy takes place on Facebook. This is how Activists like myself find out at demonstrations, rallies, marches, etc…   For those of you who are anti-Facebook we are not going back into time. Whether you are selling books, artwork, photography or establishing coalitions for positive change Facebook will continue to be a tool for effective communication.

Last but not Least you don’t have to Friend everyone who contacts you. Plus if the person becomes a problem just UnFriend or Block them!  Don’t like the racism, discrimination in certain FB Groups. Leave! Problem solved.  Folks the FB Genie has been out of the bottle for years and there is no going backwards in time.

 

paid-family-leave