2013 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 1300 W/6000 N

2013 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 1300 W/6000 N

Dear Santa,

It’s me, Bobby. I’m sad today because my friend, Will, is really sick and doesn’t have a house or food. But you know what he says is worst is that nobody ever looks into his eyes. He said he wishes he had more friends like me and mom because his heart feels warm and he has a dignity. Santa, what when someone is sad, and they ask for help, why do people pretend they’re not there? You taught me to stay my heart open but more I see people with busted hearts just hurting other people. For Christmas Santa, all I want is for friends like Will, that grown ups look into his eyes so that they can see his good heart. Please help me with this wish. I don’t ‘ care about the other stuff,

Love,

Bobby

As the writer of the Giant Letters, my job is to take stock of the people and events that have carried some weight over the course of a year, and to weave them all into a one-page story that hopes to offer emotional healing and transformation to its readers. I’ve been hesitant to share what inspires the letters, as the stories behind them are often difficult, but as violence and apathy surge in our world, I feel that creating an emotional context for discussion around it is key to our social healing. I want to offer a trigger warning for the dedications below, as the content touches on difficult topics such as cancer, the loss of children and parents, abuse, and suicide. - Caro

DEDICATED TO

BANJO

QISMAT

WILMA

STRANGERS WHO FEEL DISCARDED

We'd like to dedicate this letter to our pets, who were right there alongside us, overlooking our hard work, as we designed and fabricated our letters and sculptures through the years. Banjo was often sitting against me as I wrote each year's Chicago letter. He was an art gallery cat for many years, and helped soften the hearts of many passersby through his window.

The relationships we have to our pets can often mirror our own attributes. Banjo, Qismat and Wilma all experienced childhood trauma and had anxiety, resulting in behavioral issues. But they blossomed into sweet, smart and confident animals as I too evolved to be a better person through my care for them. I love how my pets changed me for the better and I'd like to dedicate this letter to them and to continue to spread their sweetness in the work that we do. We lost Banjo in 2021, and we lost Qismat and Wilma in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

This letter is also dedicated, equally, to the strangers in our society who may feel helpless, forgotten or discarded. I do my best to connect with strangers, because you never know what a person is going through. I know it’s often the simple things that give people hope to survive their pain and isolation.

I imagine all of the people who are trapped in unresolved trauma, who may never learn to express their inherent brilliance for the world to benefit from. Not only do these individuals suffer, but I believe that we, as a species suffer from the narrower spectrum of human experience that the unique stories of these individuals would bring to our shared, human evolution.

To anyone who has struggled to live life without love or a home, we need you, you are valuable. You are not alone. If you are struggling with thoughts of giving up, please remember that there are people who authentically care, and please reach out to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - "a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress."

Love, Team Giant Letter