The Words & Art of Those Standing Against Injustice




A few powerful people who have taught me immensely about

fighting for justice and uprooting systems of oppression.



AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN


“But reconciliation is not about white feelings. It’s about diverting power and attention to the oppressed, toward the powerless. It’s not enough to dabble at diversity and inclusion while leaving the existing authority structure in place. Reconciliation demands more.”


http://austinchanning.com/


Instagram: @austinchanning



IBRAM X. KENDI


“The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist.' What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.”


https://www.ibramxkendi.com/


Instagram: @ibramxk




LUVVIE AJAYI


“I am not asking everyone to be activists. I am not asking everyone to march on the front lines. I am not asking every writer, public figure, or celebrity to lead social movements. I am not asking them to make speeches on how they have a dream. I am, however, challenging people not to stay silent as the world crumbles. You do not have to yell. Even a whisper of truth matters in an echo chamber of lies.”


https://luvvie.org/


Instagram: @luvvie






RACHEL CARGLE


“Anti-racism work is not self-improvement work for white people. It doesn’t end when white people feel better about what they’ve done. It ends when Black people are staying alive and they have their liberation.”


https://www.rachelcargle.com/


Instagram: @rachel.cargle





 

KEHINDE WILEY



“In these toxic times art can help us transform and gives us a sense of purpose. This story begins with my seeing the Confederate monuments. What does it feel like if you are black and walking beneath this? We come from a beautiful, fractured situation. Let’s take these fractured pieces and put them back together."

Kehinde Wiley created a sculpture in direct response to the Confederate monuments on

Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. In “Wiley’s sculpture, the figure is a young African American dressed in urban streetwear. Proudly mounted on its large stone pedestal, the bronze sculpture commemorates African American youth lost to the social and political battles being waged throughout our nation,” (VMFA).


Art has the power to tear down or build up. To produce love or hatred. To reflect resilience or the abuse of power. To give a sense of purpose or a sense of hopelessness. To move toward growth or remain stagnant.


Wiley has created a piece of art that creates a sense of hope. His art brings forth the urgency to move toward transformation, both individually and as a country.


Many aspects of Monument Avenue have changed in the past few months. Where multiple statues of Confederate soldiers were once raised on their pedestals and sculptured to look like heroes and leaders, now, only the platforms remain.


Once where the platforms were simply the color of sandy stone, now, vibrant colors of the call to justice cover nearly every inch. What was once a street filled with the symbols of oppression, is now a street lined with hope. A street that shows the resistance of humanity and how powerful the voices of justice can be.


Art, and the creators behind it, have the power to transform, offer a purpose, and give a voice to the voiceless.


As the symbols of racism, white supremacy, and systematic oppression are being challenged and removed, the actual systems that uphold them need to be challenged and unrooted as well. The systems of injustice in our country and in our everyday lives cannot remain.


Creating art that empowers and removing art that oppresses is a step toward removing systems of oppression, but it is not the end of the journey.





Visit https://kehindewiley.com/ for more information about Wiley.


 


Monument Avenue

Richmond, Virginia


Photo Taken By: Creative Dog Media


Photo Taken By: Julia Rendleman


Photo Taken By: Ty Hilton