"Black Lives Do Matter, For We Too, Are America!"
--Charles Stonewall (visual artist and friend)
Over the past four months, I have been working on a series of six paintings called #blacklivesmatter. They are still-lifes of fisher price dolls arranged in positions which emphasize white indifference to black death. This troubling issue has been in the news far too frequently lately. Indifference, and the ability to look away, are privileges that white people have. But it doesn't have to be that way! That is why each painting shows a white doll at the point of turning, sadly, to face the problem. Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step towards fixing it!
Thanks to the people who encouraged this project and bought the paintings, I was able to raise $400 to donate. Half of it went to blacklivesmatter.com, a national organization, and half of it went to the local NAACP. But more than money, the intent of this project was to raise awareness and compassion in my community. I'm also pleased to publish (below) two guest blog post contributions, thoughtful opinion-pieces from friends I admire and respect.
Thoughts from Carol Reed:
"As a black woman, I, like a lot of mainstream America, was a bit confused regarding the "black lives matter" movement in the beginning. I noted the ongoing violence, and black-on-black crimes, happening in mostly poor inner cities. It was not until I discussed this in depth with a close friend, that I came to realize that most crimes are committed against people of the same race due to the fact that these are the people with whom they reside and interact on a daily basis. In addition to this, there are a multitude of socioeconomic factors that contribute to criminal behavior in particular communities such as disparities in housing, education and sentencing guidelines in the criminal justice system.
However, the main chord in the black lives movement is how some blacks are treated by the people who are supposed to protect them in time of need, the police.
The deaths of black suspects being pursued, or even just questioned by police officers, are in stark contrast to those who are not black, facing similar situations. The #blacklivesmatter painting, by Lauren Kindle, accurately portrays how the majority of America chooses to ignore the fact that blacks are dying at the hands of those who were sworn to protect them!"
Thoughts from Charles Stonewall:
Black Lives Do Matter, For We Too, Are America!
For me, the idea and meaning behind Black Lives Matter isn't just about killing someone like me with their hands up or pulling us over while driving without probable cause, but to me, BLM is also about continually being ignored and denied the same luxurious opportunities as white individuals. As a human race, we all experience rejection at one time or another, but it is particularly more prevalent for people of color than those without any hue. Far too many whites are either spiteful or clueless to our experience in the workplace, especially when it comes to possible opportunities for advancement or leadership positions.
As a Black man, I see and feel more of the disparity along my path than others will ever experience or ever fully notice. I am but one, but I am with millions of other Black Lives that are well aware of social injustice and the importance of speaking out with a compelling voice…a voice that knows the repercussions of unfavorable or unfortunate acts, as well as notable achievements and success. Black Lives do Matter, for we too are America and we all have so much to offer!!!
Also I'd like to thank Judie Dickerson (very active volunteer for the Cops 'n' Kids program in Easton) and Lisa Eckley Cocchiarale for purchasing #blacklivesmatter prints. All purchases, original art and prints, went towards raising money for the national blacklivesmatter.com and the local NAACP. Thank you!
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