Liberation & Juneteenth – Art Activism Challenge Recap
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It is no understatement to say that the past couple of months have witnessed the emergence of a powerful sense of urgency by so many young people to make incredible strides in transforming the very fabric of our society. The countless inhumane violations against our fellow human beings, our Black family and friends, have caused this country to enter a period of deep reflection on the longstanding racial injustice that has existed for centuries in essentially every aspect of American life.
Nevertheless, the tireless efforts and fearless examples of scores of Black youth have stood out as shining lights and beacons of hope amidst dismal social circumstances. When an individual arises to declare the truth and demand specific actions to address prevalent inequities, they are also commemorating nobility, culture, and worthiness. Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, is one such instance of preserving humanity, emphasizing freedom and achievement. This year witnessed a renewed awareness of and appreciation for such a long-standing and momentous occasion. At the core of this holiday sits the idea of liberation, a bright reality that, in its truest form, we seem to still be fighting for today.
During the month of June, #PassTheMicYouth called on Black youth to submit works of art centered around the theme of liberation in an effort to observe Juneteenth. Each submitted piece reflects a different facet of the larger concept of liberation, shedding light on some of the implications for further progress towards racial justice, as well as personal reflections of one’s current experience during such turbulent times.
Below is the complete collection of submissions gathered. Please enjoy!
“I would like to feature my video project with my spoken word poem, to support the Black Lives Matter movement and express the importance and urgency people need to acknowledge to take action however they can to spread awareness.”
Liberation of the Diaspora
“My experience as a black American is deeply rooted to my family and friends. Having black friends from different background inspired this piece on how our collective history from America, Caribbean islands, South America and the African continent connect us. The Pan African movement to unify people of African descent and move forward without liberation is what this piece is about. We need to work together to bring about change.”
“I choose to shine now
The ancestors of my past
Led me to this life
I won’t disappoint
My family heritage
So I must fight now
The future is soon
Freedom is for everyone
Rachel M. James
“This painting is about how young black teens in America are raised and raised to do when stopped by the police. Where it is put your hands up, have no face expression, or not to move at all. Our struggle is to just stay alive. That’s why I put the words on the side. The bullets in the American Flag is to show how corrupt our nation is for the black community.”
”Put your hands up
Don’t look threatening
Change your expression
I am human like you
Please don’t shoot
I have a family too”
Her Awaken Eye
“This art piece represents a colorful, abstract and bold black American woman. She is proud of her heritage and in her eyes sees a world of peace and equality! It shows how beautiful diversity is and how colorful it can be.”
“My father can trace his family in the US to the 1600s. The Etta James song “At Last” was sung at my parents’ wedding. As an artist, I have been experimenting with digital drawing and wanted to combine these factors into honoring BLM in the best way I know how…through art.”
In light of these wonderfully inspiring pieces, here are just a few questions we can be thinking about ourselves and among our friends:
|Questions For Extended Dialogue