Raven appeared in my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal yesterday. He symbolizes transformation, and carries truth.
I hold many ideas and beliefs as ‘truth’. They create a framework for my life upon which my values and principles hang. Core to my beliefs is unwavering, redemptive, transformative Love.
Love is my weapon of choice. It is the only weapon I can safely deploy to keep my world spinning calmly, and to ensure I do not cause harm in the world around me.
Right now, standing in Love staves off the hopelessness, fear and sorrow that keeps riding in on waves of news articles touting the latest outbreaks, death tolls, and now, riots.
The world feels like it is spinning wildly off its axis. Like the cork that was stopping centuries-old anger and rage over social inequities, racism, prejudice and privilege of the few limiting the possibilities of the many, has been pulled out.
Rage, fury, anger, pain and trauma are gushing out of humanity’s collective consciousness. Unleashed from the genie’s bottle that has been held tightly in white man’s hands, human beings of every colour are spilling out into the streets demanding change, demanding they be seen, heard, taken note of – not as dehumanized symbols of an archaic and suffocating colonial structure that elevates man on the colour of his skin, but as fully actualized, worthy human beings.
When we measure another’s worth based on the colour of their skin or the depth of their pockets or the degrees on their walls or the power of their positions, we are setting those who were not born ‘the same’ to live in the shadows of our excesses. We are harming all humanity.
We are all culpable. I am culpable. For my sister’s pain, my brother’s anguish. I am culpable for my neighbour’s poverty, my dark-skinned brothers and sisters struggles and the struggles of those who identify differently than me and must fight for the right to be who they are. I am culpable.
Not because I actively do things to discriminate against others or cause anyone pain. No. My culpability comes from my inaction. My lack of giving voice to gather allies together who will help dismantle archaic systems that keep those who have not in their place, so that those of us who have can continue to live our privileged lives without having to unsettle the status quo.
The Raven appeared in my painting yesterday. He carries a message of transformation. Of truth.
The truth is, this world of ours, this planet that sustains us, nourishes us, keeps us alive is a better place to live for some than for many others.
I am one of the ‘some’. One of the sum total of humanity whose skin colour gives me natural and unquestioned access to what I need to create a beautiful life. A life that is free of fearing for my life when I walk down the street or get stopped by police or enter a hospital emergency room seeking to be treated like I matter.
I have never questioned whether or not I matter.
Too many of my brothers and sisters have been forced to ask themselves, “Do I matter?” They are the ‘many others’. The ones who have been deemed unequal to the arbitrary equation of worth set by white man’s structures. Structures that have been put in place to keep them playing a game of snakes and ladders where the ladders are blocked by the snakes pushing them back down. It is a game designed specifically so that they cannot win.
Raven is asking me to see the truth – My skin colour does not make me colour blind. It just makes me blind to the truth of the experiences of millions upon millions x millions of my brothers and sisters.
The Wild Rose which in mythology symbolizes Love and devotion is asking me to open the eyes of my heart so that I can see how my inaction hurts me and you and all humanity. My silence keeps others on the bottom rungs while I keep climbing up the ladder.
A Raven wandered into my painting yesterday.
I am grateful for his presence. He has illuminated a truth I have not been able to see.
I am not helpless.
I have the power to inspire action to address the effects of racism, discrimination, abuse, intolerance. Social constructs that are perpetuated by my silence.
The colour of my skin matters. Not because it’s white, (though that is unfortunately what makes it matter more in this world where racism and a culture of white supremacy that is unconsciously ingrained in each of us (and sometimes consciously) dominates) No. It matters because it comes with privilege.
It is that privilege that I must employ to influence others to stand united in calling out for change that will ensure those who are struggling on the bottom rungs of the very systems that give me privilege, can rise up to experience their colour, their ‘otherness’ without fearing it will matter so much to me and those like me, it will cost them their life.