Good Read! "Comic book artists and survivors address gun violence" by Chauncey K. Robinson (from People's World)

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he anthology contains over 70 stories from over 150 different creators who collaborated with Las Vegas locals to come up with both fictional and eye-witness accounts. One hundred percent of the proceeds for the “Where We Live” anthology will be donated to the nonprofit organization Route91Strong, which seeks to help “survivors with support through financial assistance hope, strength, change, and love.”

One of the contributors, best-selling author Neil Gaiman, remarked about the project, “It’s a strange place, this time and this country, in which having tools that can only be used to murder is seen as human right… It’s about wounds and healing, about death and forgiveness, about pain and childhood and the dark. I hope it helps make people think, and I’m honored to be part of the conversation....."

Read the full article here on People's World

Buy the anthology Where We Live here from ImageComics

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Conversation vs. Retaliation: Passion, Advocacy, and ‘Fairness’ by Joel Worford

We live in an age where it’s difficult to lobby for restraint, and in many respects, this is a good thing.

Last weekend’s March For Our Lives serves as an excellent example of the beautiful showing of humanity that can come as a result of some groups’ (in this case, young students’), uninhibited exhibition of passion in working towards a goal. It was the students’ and marchers’ uncompromising position towards what they believed in that made last weekend’s event so powerful.

The March For Our Lives campaign shows one of the many positives that strong, peaceful resistance to compromise can result in.

In other words, passion is not the enemy. One can be passionate and have a respectful conversation with someone who holds an opposing view. Passion is necessary for change—without passion, nobody would show up to get things done.

Passion is the difference between one and one million.

There is no change without the presence of strong-willed, bold individuals who refuse to compromise, and so—join together in lobbying for their beliefs. Passion, advocacy, and outspokenness are qualities we should celebrate in this time where listening to and learning about the opinions of others is essential in building a better society. Passion is not to be stifled.

What we need to come to distinguish, however, is passion, advocacy and frankness from meanness, superiority, and revenge.

Regardless of how it may seem, there is no universal moral high ground. Believing that one’s opinion is the “right belief” is no justification for telling someone that their view is completely invalid and that they are stupid for believing it. The reality is that oftentimes when we seek change, we don’t know for certain that the result will be better; we just hope it will be. While this may be a bleak view, it is useful in discussing the dialogue on today’s controversial events, which often seem polarizing, antagonistic, and useless.

Social media is a blessing and a curse when it comes to progressive movements. On the one hand, social media provides a voice to those individuals who, otherwise, might go unheard. However, social media also becomes somewhat of an opinion cesspool—a place where everyone and anyone can express themselves anyway they want, and have an audience.

Expression is great, but the way one goes about expressing oneself can sometimes do more harm than good. Starting conversations is the best way to make progress on controversial issues, but it’s difficult to reach a level of understanding with someone when the discourse started with disrespect or condescension.

People often justify inflammatory and instigating social media posts with oppressed group’s past hardships. Lines that go something like, “How could you ask [oppressed group or individual speaking on their behalf] to be calm after all they’ve been through? How is that fair?”

Calmness isn’t so much what we’re asking for, but let’s be honest—when has anything been fair for these groups, and why do we choose to believe that there’s a necessity for fairness now that there’s actually a chance to change things? There is a time for anger, and there is a time for expressing those negative feelings, but taking them out on others is conducive to nothing but more hatred.

This might sound idealistic, and it might be disappointing, but the reality is that showing compassion and patience towards someone different than you is the best way to get them to listen.

Now is not the time for anger and retaliation. With society listening to oppressed groups and asking “How can we change for the better?” now is not the time to spit in the face of those engaging in conversation for the sake of avenging past mistreatment.

Is the anger justified? Perhaps, but regardless, accepting the aggressive, rude, and harmful acts of those who’ve been oppressed because they’ve been oppressed sets a nasty precedent. Granting this kind of invincibility ends up placing individuals in a sort of competition to see who’s been the most oppressed—a sort of battle for superiority and power based on past hardships. We need to treat aggression based on past mistreatment with understanding, but not acceptance.

The idea that oppressed groups need to restrain their anger to move society further away from the hatred that causes their anger is unfair. However, as earlier stated, the situation has never been fair for these groups, and when it comes to making sacrifices, the right to retaliate must be one of them.

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Joel Worford is a singer-songwriter from Richmond, Virginia, and a member of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace. He currently studies English at Longwood University with a concentration in Creative Writing. Joel’s short story “The Naked Eye” appears in the 2017 edition of Good Works Review.

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Good Read! "Visualizing the invisible: Arab women artists reveal untold stories" by Aisha Doherty (from Middle East Eye)

Arab women artists talk to MEE about breaking stereotypes, pushing boundaries and succeeding where politicians have failed

"I make autobiographical works about my identity and childhood, but I am rarely featured in it. I am always the observer rather than the one being observed," ElKalaawy said. 

ElKalaawy says that the West only shows interest in the Middle East, including Egypt, her country of origin, in times of unrest, rather than for its art and cultural scene.

I noticed my homeland and the Middle East in general do not really matter to the world other than at times of crisis 

- Nada ElKalaawy, artist

“When I relocated to the West, I noticed my homeland and the Middle East in general do not really matter to the world other than at times of crisis,” ElKalaawy said. “I feel responsible for showing the Western world what the place I come from looks like and to share the Egypt I know with others."

Read This Artist's Story and More Here

GREAT ART: Inside Out/Dreamers, A Participatory Collective of the Inside Out Project

"We are here to start a small business, write a song, find a cure, open a law firm, become a teacher, discover a new star, bring home a gold medal, develop new technologies, and so much more – If you give us that chance. We are the same as every immigrant who has come before us. Filled with dreams. Determined to contribute. See our potential. We are all here.

And our story is an American story."

"In the face of the Administration’s decision to rescind DACA, Emerson Collective is participating in the Inside Out/ Dreamers project to provide communities and local leaders a unique platform to amplify their voices.

Beyond any political debate about dreamers, these portraits remind us that behind the policies are real human stories that are deeply rooted in the story of this country. Inside Out/ Dreamers aims to represent the diversity and unity of people that can call America home. It is a nationwide participatory art initiative aimed at creating a portrait of America that includes immigrants and the descendants of immigrants alike.

The project takes part in Inside Out, a global participatory art project initiated by the award-winning artist JR to pay tribute to the power and dignity of individuals by displaying their portraits in public spaces around the world. People share their untold stories and transform messages of personal identity into works of public art...."

Visit the Inside Out/Dreamers Project Here

Find Out When the Inside Out Photobooth Trucks Will Be Near You

Learn more about the Inside Out Project Here

From the Inside Out/Dreamers website

From the Inside Out/Dreamers website

Good Read: "Art and social change: Five artists with a cultural strategy for change" by Sara Z.E. Hughes (From the American Friends Service Committee)

From the American Friends Service Committee

"As an artist committed to racial and economic justice, it can be difficult to navigate the arts and activism worlds. They can range from a pressure to abandon history and have beauty be “apolitical” to a pressure to be outright, literal and dogmatic at all times. There’s few pathways laid out for those of us trying to navigate that space in between. 

For me, the role of artists in social change movements is not to just provide visuals for activists’ communication strategies and immediate needs, but rather to develop what artist Favianna Rodriguez calls a “cultural strategy” to help shift the way people think about the world. It’s our job to imagine the possibilities, shift the thinking on individuals and situations through our representations of them, to explore the grey areas that make humans complicated and interesting, and to uplift the hope and resilience of communities we are a part of to sustain them. 

Here’s a list of five artists who are people I look to as models of how to do this kind of cultural work. Each of them is creating work within their discipline to initiate the conversation with their audiences of what it would look like if everyone’s humanity was truly recognized...."

READ ABOUT THESE FIVE AMAZING ARTISTS HERE

 

Robert Karimi, Performance Artist, The People's Cook 

Robert Karimi, Performance Artist, The People's Cook 

IMPORTANT READ: "Finding What Works For You: 12 Ways You Can Be an Activist Without Going to a Protest" by Felecia Fitzpatrick

"When you’re a woman of color, every day, every moment, you’re fully engaged with white supremacy....

While I believe wholeheartedly in protests, acts of resistance, and raising your voice, I have never felt comfortable at physical demonstrations. I often feel guilty about this—especially, when facing the question that’s all over Twitter right now: What would I have done during the Civil Rights Movement? Honestly, I’m not sure how many marches I would have attended. But I still would have taken action...."

"ACTIVISM COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES....""

If we all have the same goal, why not use our skills and passions to create our own specific type activism? Create a surround experience of activism, if you will—through events, civic engagement, donations, dialogue, art, and digital platforms.

Wondering where to start? Here are 12 different ideas/types of activism you can engage in besides attending a physical demonstration:...."

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE ON BLACK GIRL IN OM

 

 

Break Glass; The Art of V.L. Cox: A Conversation to End Hate, at the Longwood Center for Visual Arts

The Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA) will feature the poignant and timely work of VL Cox with its upcoming exhibition, Break GlassThe Art of VL Cox - A Conversation to End Hate. Cox’s artwork will be on display November 3, 2017-February 18, 2018 with an opening reception in the galleries on November 3 from 5-8pm.

Through her art, Cox aspires to spark conversation about civil rights and equality, while also exploring the persistence of hate and injustice in America today. Her work is often born in cathartic response to contemporary events and shaped from her own personal experiences growing up in Arkansas. “Personal conversations, with respect to one another, need to be had before we can move forward together,” Cox said. “There used to be a time when people could agree to disagree with civility, yet still have things in common. We need to find that place again.”

Visit the LCVA Website for more details. 

 

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