Project Description

UBUNTU –  “ I am because of You.”  Ubuntu is the expression of compassion toward others and the belief of interconnectedness between humanity & all species on the planet. 

The Red Chair Project is designed to introduce you to the  concept of “UBUNTU”. Pronounced, “Uu-Boon-too,” this is a  traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world.  Ubuntu means,  “I am what I am because of who we all are,” or  “I am, because of You”.

Consider the Red Chair Project as an invitation to stop, slow down, relax and reflect on your inter-connections with others, the community, with the land, and other species with whom we share this planet.

Read more on how to participate and to read community responses.


IT IS EASY TO PARTICIPATE! Participants are guided in the following steps:

  • When you see a Red Chair… have a seat!
  • Take a deep breath and relax while you learn and share your personal UBUNTU experience.
  • Open the white box beneath the chair and read about Ubuntu.
  • Write about how a meaningful connection with others or the natural world affects your life.   UBUNTU= “I am because of YOU.”
  •  Put your finished notecard back into the box, so it can be shared with others.

Share UBUNTU and build connections through the Red Chair Project within your business or non-profit, or your school, by Contacting Cyndi Strid, artist and creator of this project, for answers to your questions.

This summer, The  Red Chairs were placed in a local bookstore, our local libraries, a community church, farmer’s markets,  as well as  community events throughout the Gorge.  Over 100 people participated in writing about UBUNTU in their lives.  Participants often remarked, ” We need more opportunities like this in our culture… especially now! Thanks! Let’s do more of this! ”

Water, I am nurtured, enlivened, and filled with life because of you. – Vicky, 56, Hood River, OR

Old Growth, I am humbled and regretful because of you. Humbled by the beauty, regretful because all the forests should look like this. – David, 57, Hood River, OR

White Salmon River, I am the river, I am water, I am spirit. I am alive because of you. Flow- we all flow through the river of life and can learn to do so with acceptance and peace if we learn from the river. The river nourishes our souls, nourishes our bodies, nourishes our lands and the food we eat. Feel the blood coursing through you- it is the same waters that flow through the river. – Heather, 30, White Salmon, WA

Natural habitats and our natural environment, I am concerned about the human state and its true interactions with nature and what it means to live simply. Taking care of our planet with everyday choices – eating locally, organically, walking, and biking more because of you. – Rosalind, 33, Hood River, OR

Dance. I am dancing because it is one way to express all that is human- joy, sorrow, fear, light, dark, fun, hard, awkward, alone + together. I dance to allow those around me the freedom of dance as well. I dance for myself and because of you. – Adriene, 39, Hood River, OR

Bully, I am sad because of you. They are being mean to me. I feel it is unfair and unjust. It makes me sad and uncomfortable. I feel anger rushing through my body. When someone bullies me it makes me want to punch them. – Anonymous

Water, I am happy swimming because of you. I blow bubbles and diving. – Alex, 7, White Salmon

Cascade Locks Friends of the Gorge, I was really moved by the generosity and welcoming nature of this wonderful community because of you. – Jason, 36, Lodi, CA

Homelessness, I am opened, blessed, and saddened by viewing homelessness. When serving the homeless in Portland, I felt comforted to know that these people are the same as the rest of us, just in a different situation. Sure, they might have mental illness and not be able to bathe, but they were just as thankful. I am more aware because of you. –Anonymous, 15

Climate, I am warm, changed, and affected because of you. I think that if we don’t take a big stand against global warming then my life will be affected because of the reduced snowpack, and it can affect all of us in the near future with rising sea levels and higher temps in the winter. –Anonymous, 15, Hood River, OR

Running, I am thoughtful, caring and non-judgmental because of you. Running has taught me to understand that everyone needs to start somewhere. From the slowest to the fastest, everyone has their best. I really learned this because of you. –Anonymous, 16

Forests, I am humbled because of you. Whenever I’m in a forest I always take into consideration all of the little minute things around. Forests also bring me closer with my family during camping trips with lots of exploring. –Anonymous, 15, Hood River

Sunflowers always make me smile no matter what mood I am in. They are my favorite. They are beautiful and make everyone smile and I believe they truly bring sunshine to people’s lives and souls! – Makenzie, 21

Books, I am a voracious reader. Books have connected me all my life to the vastness of the world- the possibilities, the name of emotions, experiences, landscapes, life styles, cultures, and expressions of love and humanity. – Kerry, 60+, Mosier, OR

My dad, I am so blessed to have such a wonderful father. He has been a cheerleader all my life who is not afraid to tell me the truth with love and compassion. I feel great about myself today because of you. – Pamela, 50, Hood River, OR