I wish I stood up a bit more for what I believe in: Thinking more in the "we" as opposed to the "us vs. them." Equality. Inclusion. Love and kindness. But as a lifelong "people pleaser" I don't want to rock the boat. And then sometimes lives hang in the balance and we have to talk about it. And we have to do something.
In the wake of another and another and yet another in the wave of disproportionate black deaths at the hands of police, I felt helpless. My family has direct ties to law enforcement. Heck, Grandma was a county deputy sheriff. I've heard first-hand how tough and dangerous the job is. But when we look at the statistics, we can't deny that across the country, the system is out of whack, the problem is deep-seated, and it needs to get fixed.
About the time I was feeling the most helpless, some of my friends in the Broadway community were feeling the same way, many of which are black and have more at stake in this than I can truly comprehend. And they did something. They began to talk and they began to act. A small group (including my pal Amber Iman) put together an evening to raise awareness and open a dialog called Broadway for Black Lives Matter. I offered to help with design, which wasn't needed since they had a fantastic person lined up, but they enthusiastically made me feel like a part of the event as an observer and student. In the weeks after the event, I created this illustration, commemorating the event and those who spoke and sang and danced and taught. It's the bare minimum I could offer, but I look forward to keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open to this effort and learning how to stand with my black brethren and sistren for open dialog and change. In a world that feels more "us vs. them" every day, I stand and move forward with "we."
So, back to these wonderful folks who created this wonderful evening of enlightenment. They have steered this momentum into the creation of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, combining art and activism and opening the dialog even further. Learn more about them here.