Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Lessie Venardo Dixon, Lisa Dawn Taylor, and Kevin Sipp
Elements of a Revolution Art Exhibition gathers national group of curators and visual artists, who have responded through their work to the ongoing fight for equality in America and global society. Each artist in this exhibition brings a unique voice and committed eye to expressing the emotions and bookmarking the moments of a social justice movement that seeks to lead America's Society toward uncompromising and inclusive wellbeing.
"Power to the People"
When you type in the words “When did G-” in the google search engine, a once living black father of one face pops up. His name plastered on the screen, “George Floyd.” May 25, 2020, George Floyd’s life was taken from him after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds supposedly for paying at a nearby gas station with a fake twenty dollar bill. After videos of his modern day lynching circulated the worldwide web, an uproar of sadness, anger, grief, and motivation shook the world. While many believed this part of America was over because we had a black president, others knew that this was just another tally mark in history. Four days had passed before Derek Chauvin had been arrested and his fellow officers guarded his home once word got out about where he lived. They protected a murderous cop like they should’ve protected Emmett Till. Emmett Till, a then 12 year old black boy from Chicago visiting family in Mississippi, would have been 65 years old today if his body hadn’t been brutally, and I mean brutally destroyed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His mother had an open casket funeral because she wanted the world to see what they did to her sweet baby boy. Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam was found not guilty. They were released with no charges against them. That was 1955. It is 2020 and black lives, young and old, are still one big question mark.
Unfortunately, George Floyd wasn’t the only life taken from us this year. What’s even more unfortunate is that he and the others will not be the last. August 15, 2017, President Donald Trump spoke on the Charlottesville race riot. He not only failed to condemn white supremacists but he said and I quote “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.” When asked to condemn white supremacy and supremacism in America during the 2020 Presidential Debate against Vice President Joe Biden, President Trump again failed black people. He avoided a question specifically for him by talking around his answer which entailed giving us his answer. He branded it as a “left wing” issue only. Bringing up the anti-fascist group Antifa and putting more emphasis on disbanding them than stripping the biggest known group of American white supremacists, The Ku Klux Khlan also known as The KKK. He stated for them to “stand back and stand by.”
This is our America right now. The leaders in place in America 2020 show us how far we’ve come since June 19th, 1865. Sorry to say, not very far. In a country where people come from near and wide for the freedoms promised to its American citizens, brown people still feel pretty enslaved. Brown boys cannot afford to play cops and robbers outside because they can become the hashtag Tamir Rice. They cannot play their music freely in their own neighborhoods because they can become the hashtag Jordan Miller. They cannot forget to turn on the turning signals because they can become the hashtag Sandra Bland. They cannot eat ice cream in their own home because they can become the hashtag Botham Jean. They cannot awaken out of their sleep, asking who is at their door because they hear them because they can become the hashtag Breonna Taylor. Black people live in fear of life itself.
When the statement “Power to the People” was presented it was meant to be a bold statement exclaiming that a revolution needed to happen. Well, today's revolution is here. While the media portrays protests as riots and violence, every single protest that has been attended by myself has been peaceful and sad and beautiful all in one. People from all different walks of life branding together to fight for the lives of brown people. To fight for the innocent boys behind water guns. To fight for the innocent girls going to church or school. To fight for equality of life for all. Isn’t that the purpose of America itself? The land of the free? To be… free? So when you hear “Power to the People” think about it in terms of power to the people who feel powerless. Be the voice for the silenced because there are so many silenced. As proclaimed earlier, the revolution of today is here. There are two sides. The side in which America can be great, again. Or the side in which we can make America great for the first time. Which side are you willing to be on?
By Charity Strong