Creative Activism: Do Something
t has been almost a week since my last Daily Creative. I could joke about the fact that I sometimes call it the (Almost) Daily Creative, but the truth is that last week was hard. Our country is struggling mightily right now. The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect black and brown people. Black people continue to die at the hands of police, most recently in the devastating case of George Floyd. Systemic racism is so deeply woven into our country's fabric that many, many white people do not believe it exists. I am a white woman, with all the privileges that come with that position, and I have worked hard as an adult to continue to identify and come to terms with my own embedded racism. Because no matter what white people think, when we take for granted our daily privileges that our skin color affords, we enact racism. White people need to take an uncompromising look at themselves, and then take uncompromising action if this country is to change.
All this to say that I didn't feel like writing about or even doing anything creative over the last week. I have felt crushed under the weight of what is happening, and even my own creative practice just hasn't felt accessible. Or important.
And yet creativity may be what saves us yet. Historically art and creativity have lived at the heart of dissent and activism. Think Guerilla Girls or Ai Wei Wei. The pussy hats from the Women's March. Diego Rivera. Marcel Duchamp. Carrie Mae Weems. Banksy. Pussy Riot. The world is a better place because of their outspoken art.
Your creativity, my creativity, our creativity might not end up in the history books, but it might help us find new ways to move forward. The language of creativity transcends what our tongues can produce. It adds dimensions and textures and nuances that sometimes we cannot find in mere words.
Today's Daily Creative asks you to think about creativity and action, and then do... something. Maybe you can find a new way to approach a difficult conversation with a racist acquaintance. Or use innate curiosity to read a different perspective about race. Maybe write a letter (on paper! With a pen!) to someone to whom you owe an apology. You might want to take all the feelings you have right now and turn them into a big scribble on paper, or a collage, or a poem. Then share it here, or with others. Find a creative way to respond to what is happening now, and do it in a way that makes the world a little bit better.
If you are curious about ways in which art has been and continues to be used for activist purposes, check out The Center for Artistic Activism Alongside its support and training for artists and organizations, it has an "open-access, user-generated database of creative activism, Actipedia. And if you are not familiar with any of the artists I mentioned above, check them out and see firsthand the power of creativity.
We can change this country for the better and make it a place of equity, peace and justice. But it will take all of us, one creative step at a time.