by Victoria Bradford
I recently drove over 4,000 miles up and down the Mississippi River with my mother. We didn’t kill each other. In fact, I think I came to know my home so much better, as we journeyed physically toward it—en route from Minnesota to Louisiana, the state where I grew up. Along our path, we stopped in Grand Rapids, MN to connect with a group of local citizens who are invested in the river and the water issues of the area. We stopped in over 100 towns and cities, but our experience in Grand Rapids was like a catapult that changed the course of every other experience we had.
next year. Starting July 8, 2019, together with five others, I will be traveling on foot down the great river, running in a relay formation 20-40 miles each day, stopping in 104 towns and cities, staying with the residents in these places and gathering their stories, their voices. We are looking to build communities and connectivity along the river through the simple act of listening deeply, using the body as a natural host of human connection, and sharing the knowledge we gain as we go.
To back up—the reason we were driving the Mississippi River and stopping in Grand Rapids in the first place was to build relationships in advance of a larger, longer expedition down the river.
What I learned in Grand Rapids was that the six of us, the Relay Team, are not the only ones in this relay. The work we are doing is relevant to this community, to their initiatives with the water. And most importantly, Megan, Bud, Annette, Deirdre, Dave, Brian, John, Kathy, Sonja, Mary, and Katie, are all listening, engaging, and relaying the voices of their community and others today and everyday. Relay of Voices is not just a year away, it is already happening, and we are all living it now.
To follow Victoria Bradford and the Relay of Voices team, you can follow them on Facebook. Tentatively they will be in Grand Rapids, Minnesota July of 2019. Watch Visit Grand Rapids Events Calendar for more details as they develop.