I feel called. To speak up. To use my art as my voice. Enter Rosa.
In reverence, I began painting Rosa Parks nearly three years ago. I was simply painting my complete admiration of a woman whose moral compass steered her directly into a storm. Rosa as badass.
As a middle-aged woman of color, she found her fill one day and said NO. She knew the stakes. She persisted.
Ironically, I wasn’t satisfied with my early painting and she stared at me for another year while the Black Lives Matter movement began to spread. I became acutely aware of my white privilege. I struggled with the reality. And the pit in my stomach.
Again, I began to add to the painting—it grew in importance to me. There was so much I wanted to say about courage and circumstance. I wanted to understand
So here I am many years later finding myself also reaching the end of my tolerance for what I see in this political reality. And looking for inspiration from Rosa on finding my inner rebel.
Rosa came back to my easel these last weeks. My resister. My guide.
And I painted until she emanated light. A rising storm of determination and grace. Of boldness. Of non-acceptance.
Weeks before that evening on the bus, Rosa had attended a meeting where Mamie Till spoke about Emmett’s murder. It was a turning point in Rosa’s already activist mindset and in her singular act of refusal on that bus, Rosa Parks birthed a movement.
Who knows what will be our turning point. What will move us to take a bolder step.
And what that step might look like. Dan Rather writes on FB. James Comey testifies about Presidential lies. We protest. We get political.
For me, I speak today with my work of Rosa.
MLK said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Have courage. Find your voice. Namaste.