Aerial Carib by Suzanne Stryker
"There is one self-help group whose purpose resonates more closely with our
notions of changing the system. Suzanne Stryker’s “Project Help” grew out of
the artist’s direct experience with crime—she had three of her paintings stolen
on separate occasions here in town. Stryker declared publicly that she would
not pursue prosecution if the thief returned the stolen works. It was a noble
gesture, but with the formation of this outreach group she went much further. It’
s clear she was inspired on a deep level to assume some responsibility for the
thefts, though she herself was the victim. According to Stryker’s website, Project
Help aims to be 'a community model of prevention and rehabilitation rather than
incarceration.' An Ottumwa television station was invited to broadcast the project’
s inauguration, and a number of residents volunteered to assist people who
might come forward. Their services included everything from vocational
counseling to a home-cooked meal. I hope the criminal justice people are
paying attention. Suzanne Stryker is setting an important example with her
compassionate outlook—not just talk, but action.
"This is why having a Suzanne Stryker in your community is such a privilege.
The crime she suffered was, of course, not nearly so severe, but the principles
are the same. Instead of acting from a vengeful mind-set, she withdrew into self-
examination and responded in a way that reflected her expanded perspective.
Stryker is the sort of person you want to encourage and support. You want to
make it as easy as possible for people like her, rare as they are, to live here,
and attract others who exhibit similar clarity."
Excerpt from Alexander Gabis' book
Managing the Spiritual Neighborhood