Rising Dust © 2016
Acrylic & Ink on Canvas
I created Rising Dust in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling & Philando Castile. That particular week’s violent events, on top of all the countless other acts of violence in our communities, left me utterly devastated, sick and tired, and desperate for tangible and helpful ways to respond. But instead of moving, I sat in the midst of my tears and was paralyzed by fear. I spent that week questioning my role in all the violence. As a privileged white woman, what good are my tears? I also feared that, in speaking out, my words and good intentions would be misunderstood, or worse, that in speaking out I would add to the pain.
Here’s a journal entry from that week:
All I can see are tears.
All I can see are faces contorted in splintering anguish.
All I can see are hands empty worn down by trying to hold back the world.
But you see, no one should have to hold that weight…
I feel the hot tears sting my cheeks and blur my vision…
but that’s all they do now.
RIGHT NOW, all these tears do is blur my vision.
But until my tears actually move me, until my tears actually propel me out of my cushioned chair,
they are just tears.
They are just cathartic sensations that remind me that I am in fact human… that I in fact have a beating heart.
Well, good for me.
What good do my tears do for my brothers and sisters who carry the weight of the world?
As far as I can tell, my tears do nothing.
What can I do, God?
How do I move, Creator?
Your children are dying.
Please, God, move me.
Disengage me from my fear and help me to walk alongside my brothers and sisters.
Help me to stand and share the load of the world.
The immense weight of your world gone wrong is breaking them apart.
Break me, please, instead.