"Permission to Kill Me"
In the wake of the decision NOT to indite for both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, my spirit is unsettled and crying out. The tension and dissatisfaction in the black community is like a festering abscess in need of lancing. Current images on the news are more reminiscent of 1963....not 2014. Riots, tear gas, protests, marches and public outrage are the crescendo of social unrest.
You can't keep a broken system the same and expect different results. That's INSANITY! The deep rooted issues of racism that manifest themselves in ways of unequal treatment and racial profiling can not go unchecked without the black community getting 'fed up' with the injustice. When there is no satisfactory justice, the feelings of abuse swell inside. The pressure builds and if there is no relief, we have an explosion on our hands.
THIS is what I'm feeling. Explosive!
We all have our gifts. Thank goodness for people who have the gift of leadership and community activism as well as public speaking. These are the people who lead, take action and make real change.
One of my gifts is creating art. Art is a powerful tool to help reveal truth. It can be used to influence minds to contemplate deep issues in hopes to stir the soul to action.
So yesterday I used my focused energy to respond to the plethora of emotions swirling inside of me concerning the social climate of today and created a painting entitled, "Permission to Kill Me".
The painting is a mixed media piece using acrylic paint, ink, newspaper, photocopy images, tape and charcoal. The treatment of the surface is rough and raw like my emotions. I focused on the imagery of black males with their hands raised. This sends a different message depending on the context.
In the painting there is a drawing of Eric Garner being choked with his last words before he died, "I can't breathe" on his chest. His raised hands signifies being subdued.
Throughout the news there were many protesters and celebrities raising their hands as a symbol of peaceful protest. The center figure in the piece is a black man raising his hands during a peaceful demonstration. He has the words, "PEACEFUL PROTEST?" near him. The question mark is there because in the news where people were standing with their hands raised, tear gas was being thrown at them.
Above his head is the preliminary autopsy report on Michael Brown that says, "Bullets entering the inside of Michael Brown's right arm and Brown's right palm suggest Brown had his arms in the 'surrender' position when Officer Darren Wilson killed him." So although he was in the surrender position, he was shot anyway. This is where the title of my piece comes from, "Permission to Kill Me", because apparently it doesn't matter if you 'surrender', you'll get killed anyway. So I included the silhouetted black male with his hands raised and the written question, "Surrender?" between his hands. Is this position of surrender a signal to the aggressor to 'stand down' or a green light to kill?
Art is a weapon! So I'm fighting back!