11" x 14" mixed media
I was standing in an enormous warehouse full of boxes. When I opened one, I found a glass rose inside. It was a beautiful work of artistry, capturing the light in a way that made it seem alive in my hands. I opened a second box and found a glass fern leaf, clear and delicate. These symbols of love & health both sparkled like stars. Yet I had such profound sadness that an entire warehouse full of beauty like this had never been opened.
I woke up thinking, "Peace is like that. It's fragile, delicate, and beautiful."But people have to choose it.
Peace doesn't appear by itself.
Americans have been living in a fragile peace for 20 years, sitting on a pyre of our fears made worse by the quarantine and wide-spread unemployment due to Covid-19. Then we watched Derek Chavin put his knee on George Floyd's neck and shatter that peace for us all.
We all know racism is a global problem. The darker you are, the worse off you will be. That's true whether you live in America or Indonesia, Zimbabwe, or Ireland. This hierarchy of color has existed for eons. It was there when the Greeks invaded Egypt, the Romans conquered Europe, China dominated Asia and the United States rose to a superpower.
I am a brown woman. My skin tans from mocha latte to sienna every year. I am the product of enslaved Africans, displaced Native Americans & immigrant Irish. I know the struggles of all three lineages.
But outside of my home, I am only judged by one. Such is the weight our ancestors have given color.
My family is blended. We have Peurto-Rican, Cuban, Irish, French, German, Native American, Norwegian, Scottish, and Vietnamese relatives. We are living the dream Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about and died over. But he died in vain if we keep killing over Crayola shades.
Some of us keep moving backward.
The sad fact is that out of the 191 countries dealing with Covid-19, the majority of the people losing their lives right now are brown. The majority of the ones in poverty are brown. And the majority of those in power seem to be perfectly fine with it all.
Our global leaders have gotten used to double-speak. They preach equality in front of the cameras and remain business as usual in their offices. They decry peaceful protests because they didn't choose the venue. They say walks for justice are disturbing the peace. Their actions tell us that money matters more than lives. They've made our little indignities commonplace through uneven access to education, health care, housing, and employment.
Since late 2016, racism in the United States has gotten so bold that my husband now wears his Marine hat when we go out to deter them from picking fights with us. Why is that? Because when I am outside of my home now, I am not even a woman in parts of this country anymore. I'm a color. That's it.
So here's the thing: You can't go around making passive hate speech without someone taking these words to their final conclusion. You can't say you stand for equality, yet demand that minorities pick the venue of your choosing to talk about it.
You can't pretend to be woke when it's convenient.
Further, it is impossible to be a Nazi and a proud American. One of those two lost a war. Making a purchase will not stop injustice. You have to correct it when it speaks at your dinner tables and in your offices. Wearing a T-shirt may not make you a part of a movement, but walking your talk might.
Peace is something Humanity chooses when we see each other as human. And we desperately need to choose peace right now. People in our world are dying from Covid-19. This has affected every country and culture on the planet. Doctors can't treat this based on color. They need to practice medicine to save human lives.
The pandemic isn't gone because some of us are rioting. The deaths won't just disappear simply we've declared we don't believe in a virus. And no amount of tear gas will clear away the smoke of misinformation we've received on bad this could be for us all.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a glass rose of ideas. The Hippocratic Oath is a fern leaf of healing. Read both, then take a good long look at where we are right now in this world.
It's time to change this.
Because in my dream, all those boxes are open.
Light, Peace & Good Health to you & your families.