Dear Friend,

I’ve been gone for a while, on a journey to find healing and hope, that resulted in the gift of a daughter and a second chance at life.

I struggled as a community organizer, to find strength and hope through all the contradictions and inconsistencies between our stated values and lived deceptions. When it got personal, my disappointment and sadness took me down a path that led me to question every truth I believed about justice. Through it all I never forgot the woman in Watsonville, who worked in the strawberry fields, and who told me that I had nothing to offer her, that no help I could render her would ever be enough. Or the anonymous farmworker man living in the Pájaro River who drowned that same year. They live on in my mind and in my survivors guilt, because there is something so important that they brought to me during this journey;

The lesson that the greatest change I could ever make in the world was not for them or anyone else, but for myself.

For them, and many, there may never be justice. For a long time I could not reconcile living life with that idea. But I chose life, and am choosing to continue challenging myself to live my life in a reflection of the compassion and justice I seek and hope for others. I no longer believe that I must martyr myself for the cause, only that I should live a life confronting my own fears, understanding my weaknesses, and challenging my own prejudices.

I wanted to share this with you as I continue this next chapter for myself and for my family. I was a designer, then a community organizer, and now as a mother, I hope to find a way to forge the two. Just as my daughter turns one year old, I am beginning by re-launching my design practice, Blum & Sullivan Design.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, I hope that you will be a part of this next chapter too.

X María Blum Sullivan

Maria Blum-Sullivan