Michele Botwin Raphael — my consummate publicist/editor extraordinaire. And loving, loyal, kindred spirit and dearest friend.
Kristen Maschka — who taught me to value myself enough to make time for this show in the midst of raising my beautiful boys. And has been a wonderful friend and mentor to me.
Monika McMillan — my tireless supporter, cheerleader, PR maven, sounding board, second pair of eyes and dear, dear friend.
Angie Clark — my soul sister since age 2, my rock and sometimes-deliverer of tough love.
Agnes Jackson — for opening my eyes to a whole new world of African-American literature. And sharing some hard truths with me.
Sandee Mirell — my brilliant and creative mother whose love has been nothing less than the sun is to all living things. Her ability to analyze symbolism in literature has translated into my passionate, almost obsessive, use of symbolism through everyday objects.
Carson Gladson — my father and fellow artist whose love and endless patience and critiques helped me hone my skills and reveal the stories of my heart.
Mike Mirell — my stepfather, a very creative soul, whose unique life perspective helped teach me to trust myself, take risks and become brave, has made me who I am today. He continues to encourage fearlessness in me.
Tom Bruderlin — whose words, "Hopie, you must feel like a 10-pound lion in a 1-pound bag," when I was a teenager made me feel seen, understood and appreciated for exactly who I was.
To my husband, Alex, for helping with kid pick-ups, meals and grocery shopping so that I could do this work. And for putting up with the mess of this show in the dining room, the sunroom, the kitchen and everywhere else for about a year. And by "mess," I mean rusty nails and broken glass found in the oddest places thanks to our kitten.
Thank you, my fantastic boys, Lucas and Theo, always at the ready to give me feedback when I had questions of what to put where in moments of self-doubt. And for their patience and understanding each time they saw tears roll down my face while I read another horrific or, on the other hand, profoundly inspiring story. For their hugs, humor and love.
Alex Novack, Dena Lazar, Philip Reagan, Yassmin Sarmadi, Clay Pierce, Lilian Maranon, Amanda Rogers, Rosa Medrano, Kimberly Micheli — thank you all for giving to me and to the show in special, needed ways.
And thank you, Gloria and Elena of "Belle's Nest," for supplying me with the beautiful milagros and loving, kind words of support. And to everyone at Pasadena Image Printing for their patience and kindness with this project.
To Peter Kim, for his beautiful and professional graphics and website work, and for his patience along the way.
And to Johnny Buzzerio, for his gorgeous photography of the artwork and kind installation help.
John Cummings, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for dedicating your time and money to providing the United States with our first museum "The Whitney Plantation" which takes an honest and detailed look at slavery. It is through this kind of important work that our nation will begin to take responsibility for and heal from our shameful past.
Last but not least, thank you Tanya Edmonds and the Center for Well Being for being the first to host this show and for believing in its important message of unity.