Hands are one of the most beautiful, critically needed, and intricately designed parts of the human body. Hands define us. Hands humanize. Hands are an intimate part of our common humanity. In many cultures, religions, and traditions from around the world, open hands signify abundance, blessing, and hospitality.
A South Indian Tamil upbringing gave me the gentle greeting of hands folded together near the heart: வணக்கம / vanakkam meaning welcome – ஸ்தோத்திரம் / stotheiram meaning praise. As a child, I learned bharatanatyam, a traditional classical dance of India, with an extensive repertoire of mudras, symbolic gestures using the hands and fingers. These gestures communicated the meaning of the story being danced to the audience. Since the dance is a worship of the Divine this means that the gestures also facilitate an inner journey. Ignatian training and practices as an adult have taught me to hold my own hands generously open to receive, and loosely, to give easily. Such open hands keep us all connected.
Books open minds. Like nothing else, I believe. That’s what books did for me and what they continue to do. I traveled the world and met so many different people in the pages of books, without leaving home. I learned to banish fear of differences. I learned to admire people who were very different from me. Books continue to teach me that we’re one human race. Not separate. Not tribes, nations, ethnicities, or identities! We’re all connected and until everyone can live in peace and plenty, none of us will know real peace.
The ubiquitous images this summer, raised fists in real life at the protests, and solid black fists on my news and social media inspired me to re-evaluate my own anti-racism. The Wikipedia informed me that there is a long and beautiful history behind the symbol of the fisted hand: “The black fist, also known as the Black Power fist is a logo generally associated with Black nationalism, defiance, solidarity, and sometimes socialism. Its most widely known usage is by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.” Very simply, for many today, the Black fist stands for liberation. Defiance and solidarity. Resilience and strength.
I began to mindfully re-evaluate my own work with the Anti-racism Digital Library. It was time for the library to have a logo. I began the search: What symbol conveys a faith-filled anti-racism?
You open your hand, satisfying the desires of every living thing.
Like it always does, the answers came. People offered help. Many helping hands. Only one of them is named here: Thanks to talented Chris Wooton, Director of Communications, Louisville Seminary I soon had several designs for the Anti-racism Digital Library. This is the final selection.
I am pleased to share an open hand as the brand new logo of the Anti-racism Digital Library (ADL). It symbolizes a digital library that offers journeys of discovery and transformation within and without for everyone everywhere. The ADL, like Louisville Seminary President Alton Pollard, III, using the language of Zion, is for “whosoever.” It is also a promise of curatorial responsibility and integrity. Our information resources are carefully curated into collections that connect, diligently described, and freely available. May you learn, be the change, transform our world, and be filled.
Please drop us a line to share your thoughts about the logo. We’d love to hear from you.
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It has all the skin colors joined together on one hand. – S