Art as Resistance
Art as Resistance by SYOA intern Khusboo Gulati
Art plays a powerful and important role in sustaining the fight of the Community Rights Campaign as well other movements locally and globally. It is more than just visuals, but a language and tool necessary in resistance, storytelling, and documenting our history. Resistance art is the product of stories unheard, resilience ignored, and ideas suppressed. It is a vessel through which people unite, histories are documented and through which one can learn. Recording our work, our struggle, our losses and our victories is the only way we can keep our unheard histories and herstories alive as US hegemony controls our textbooks and classes. Now is the time we need art the most, to protect and expand our stories and our rights. Creativity and art allows communities to challenge white supremacist, heteronormative & patriarchal thinking through not only the creation of the art, but through the analysis done behind it.
The Community Rights Campaign utilizes art as a tactic of organizing and resistance, using mediums like visuals, spoken word, dance, drum and chant, and skits. The art of the campaign has defined the way we organize, in using these mediums to document, mobilize the community, and strategize for campaign. It is through art that we get students involved to be their own agents of change and to build with the people around them. Projects require many organizers and youth to work together, allowing them to develop or better their communication and leadership skills.
With more police being placed in schools and fewer resources, safe spaces to create art while learning and discussing an analysis of our police state and imperialism are becoming even less accessible. Art is a radical form of education, an education that supports multiple intelligences and another element that strengthens the campaign. The CRC has mobilized youth to be a part of the Summer Youth Organizing Academy, where they learn to use spoken word poetry to speak their story and their struggle, narratives that are left out of the news and silenced in history books.
SYOA builds the connection between our struggle, art, and tactics through this sort of creative writing, while using it as a tool to advance the Community Rights Campaign. During monthly meetings, organizers may group the community participating to create a skit in order to better understand issues discussed. For example, groups would quickly craft a skit that depicts the consequences of the daytime curfew law or the negative impacts of truancy tickets. Our art reflects the stories from the frontlines, by the people fighting in the campaign and those most affected by the oppressive prison industrial complex, oppressed nationalities.
Art also has universality to it; for it is easy to understand and can easily convey a message. Through graphs of incarceration rates, images of students rising up, and pictures diagramming the different districts of LA country, the CRC not only encourages & appreciates creativity, but uses it to teach and incite conversations and critical thinking. With art comes critical race/class/gender theories, discussion, the introduction, sharing and exchange of the diversity and knowledge from the many multicultural & generational communities that interact. As black and brown peoples, our voices have been historically suppressed and ignored making all our creations forms of resistance. Rooted in the poetry, drum and chant, visuals, dances, and skits are our voices, our messages that we can't stop and won't stop organizing and resisting.
With art we are planting seeds for a culture of resistance and for a better future of generations to come.
About Carla Gonzalez
- Jan 22 2013