CD Forum's Summer Intern, Savannah Parker, was a part of a mural project at Seattle Academy (SAAS). Read below for Savannah's Artist Statement about her mural and her poem, "Yes, and."
You can see Savannah's mural in person at the intersection of Broadway, Madison, and Union in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The piece is inspired by a James Baldwin quote, "What is it you wanted me to reconcile myself to? I was born here almost 60 years ago. I'm not going to live another 60 years. You always told me, "It takes time." It's taken my father's time, my mother's time, my uncle's time, my brother's time, and my sister's time. How much time do you want for your progress?"
- James Baldwin
We have seen that police brutality doesn't discriminate, they'll harm children, men, women, trans women, trans men, they will harm any human being. As an African American, since the day you are born, you have a target on your back, and that target remains until the day you die. The words above the figures are from a poem I wrote titled, "Yes, and". The poem reflects the perspective of the African American struggle to stay the course. In some of the lines, I mockingly represent how African American Allies have failed to hit the mark. The colors presented in the piece are red, black, and green, the color palette of the African American Flag.
"Yes, and." You are not like them. They're not like us. We think that being ourselves isn't enough. So we're careful of what we say, careful in what we do. Only to remain the dullest color in an ocean of blue. We are here for our brothers We'll stand for our sisters. You'll rise for those who have given up, as long as the bare minimum is enough. Well, see, being human is already tough. And living as a human being, with a racial identity Adds a layer of complexity. Because who I am is based upon what you see of me. And who you are is based upon what I see in you and what you do. I stand in solidarity with those who have given up, but I refuse to inherit their bitterness, simply because life's been rough. I stand in solidarity with those who are trying but are too scared to ignite the words that give light to voices that are slowly dying. But still, I will not accept your compliance with our current state. I stand in solidarity with those who have been so bold, to share how they feel, I appreciate your effort to keep it real. But I will not accept the fact that you struggle to listen to the thoughts of others, simply because you refuse to heal, heal from the pain, or to find warmth after a year of cold rain. Acceptance can cause you to be stagnant or lead to change. I stand in solidarity with you because we have all been there; we have all been here. I have questioned my ability to make a difference in the world. I have tried and given up, reignited the spark, and tried again. But through it all, I've chosen not to accept what I can change.