There is a LOT going on right now. Still in the middle of COVID and now people are protesting across the US, and the world, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Needless to say, it's a lot to process and work through.
I am an artist. So part of my process and working through things is to create. In this case, I've been profoundly moved by the signs seen at protests and have decided to create a body of work showcasing those messages. I am a white creative, so I'm starting with this illustration because it's true. I have a voice and if I don't use it, I'm no better than the oppressors.
I'm also a teacher. A teacher to predominantly black and brown students. I may not be directly impacted by the racism that runs through this country because of my skin color, but I am personally invested in the lives of so many that are. Seeing the kids at the protests and their signs gets me choked up every time. It's significant when adults protest, but the children break my heart. We have failed them, myself included, and we must do better. They can not grow up in a world of hate, inequality, bigotry, and injustice.
Matter really is the absolute minimum. Existing is not enough. Matter implies that to exist and breathe is sufficient. Black lives don't just matter, they are beautiful and intelligent and deserve to be woven into the fabric of our country in a positive and equal way.
Here in DC, Mayor Bowser approved a huge multi block mural on the street leading to the White House. It is a brightly painted, yellow lettered Black Live Matters complete with a street name change to BLM Plaza. Visually, it's a beautiful thing. I have illustrated it and am selling it in my shop with proceeds going to BLM through the month of June. But the world is looking at us now and painting a mural on the street is not going to be enough. What happens next? What's the next move for actually change so the paint isn't meaningless?