We live in a broken world. This is no new reality but it is a truth that became much more real and intimate for many in 2020. The summer of 2020, in particular, was a season of reckoning. For as the world, captive from the pandemic, sat watching from the indoors, we witnessed the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. In response, there was an overwhelming cry for justice, one that echoed around the world.
Unfortunately, the marginalization and discrimination of Black Americans and people of color is not a new phenomenon. Racism was familiar for far too many before it started trending in 2020. It persists now. What we should be asking is where are there still problems? What needs addressing? What needs to be changed? And how can we be faithful in this time? It can be easy to look out at the world and see its faults, but are we willing to also examine ourselves? Or what about the people and places within our proximity? Are we willing to become undone in order to undo systems of oppression for the sake of the gospel? Unity and diversity are frequently discussed as end goals, however, achieving these aims means first addressing the challenges that stand in their way.
Pressing into this sort of work will take courage. Not everything will be easy. Entering into these conversations will take grace and humility. There will be failures along the way and a need to stop and listen. Change will involve participation and perseverance. God calls us to be collaborators in his kingdom work and to run this race with endurance. But most importantly, this labor will require love.
The aim of this exhibition is to elevate underrepresented voices, spark conversation, and serve as a campus catalyst for change. This exhibition will place work by UNW students of color (both past and present) front and center. Members from this community are invited to submit art (in all its forms) on topics, stories, and perspectives which they believe need to be heard, addressed, shared, and celebrated. This may include but is not limited to strengths, struggles, hopes, fears, grievances, frustration, excellence, resilience, and joy. After all, humanity is dynamic and multi-dimensional, and harbored joy can be as much a form of protest as that of anger or fatigue.
This exhibition is one step in the process of growing Northwestern into a safer and stronger community for students of color. We hope you join us.