Made collaboratively at East Lake Commons Co-housing, October, 2017.  

Participants:  Karin Ryan, Shaun Anderson, Kaya de Barbaro, Lisa Parsons, Diane Dougherty, Kira Corser, Austin Thomas, George Thomas, Christian Thomas. 

The Black Lives Matter post was created with the intent of amplifying the significance of actions and inactions, attitudes, and policies which are violating the sacred reality that all lives matter.  Unless and until black lives are treated with the respect and dignity they are worthy of, the sacred reality that all lives matter cannot be fully realized.  

We used actual mirrors to represent and facilitate reflection by those that view the post.

Why we need to state the obvious – that Black Lives Matter.

“How would your life be different if your skin was a different color?”  “How would you feel if it was your loved one?” (that was killed or discriminated against because of the color of their skin?)  “Who is to be protected?  Who is to be served?”  How has it come to be that some neighborhoods feel the police protect them, and others feel they are targeted by police? The very creation of police came from the wealthy trying to protect their property and power, from the working class and poor. Is there a path to create public servants who serve all people equally.  Are there those among us that keep that from happening.”Do you do unto others as they would have you do unto them?”  Are we thoughtful in our words and deeds?  Do we listen to the feelings of others to better understand how we can best support their dreams and goals and lives.  Do we unknowingly offend others by not understanding their experiences that may be different from our own?  We hope the reflection will create better understanding of ourselves, others, and how we can dismantle the chasm called racism.  

The bottom half of the post is intended to represent the problems that have led to racism and police shootings, disproportionally targeting black men and boys.  We took Michelle Obama’s statement about the White House being built on the backs of slaves, to represent and honor the contribution of generations of overworked, underpaid, and under recognized,  black human beings, to the success of this country. The multiracial, intergenerational team decided to represent the nation as the White House, which is burning due to the anger and grief around the blatant injustices of so many people of color.  The underlying causes of the injustices and problems represented by them are represented in the flames  – racism, mass 

Understanding whats fanning the flames.

incarceration and the school to prison pipeline, police shooting from often unfounded internal feelings of fear rather than professional assessment of the situation, stand your ground laws that have been used to protect stalking, hero status seekers, harmful commerce, the war on drugs, police impunity, maligned priorities that put profit before people, gun violence, voter disenfranchisement, underfunded schools, the gun lobby and a culture of violence, red lining, intentional incitement of hate and propagation of unfounded fear and divisiveness.  

 

Advice to Congress

How to put the fires out.

The solutions or ways to repair some of the damage is written in the water from the firehose as those things that might put the fires out.  These include investment in people, divestment from violence, reversing impunity for unfounded police violence, truth and reconciliation and reparations, restorative justice, , community investment, respect, just justice, accountability, kindness, democratic empowerment, and inclusiveness.  

The post has been shown at: the Carter Center, several Atlanta marches,  the Dismantling Racism Conference in Atlanta,  Justice Day at the capital in Atlanta, and in Washington DC on the National Mall.  It has been adopted to be used by the Coalition for Dismantling Racism


Collette Pichon Battles, Executive Director of U.S. Human Rights Network, at Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Forum with the Black Lives Matter and Why We March posts.

and will reside at Morehouse College, at the Center for Healing Racism, Atlanta, Georgia.