This summer, I worked with Family Focus Evanston to provide art experiences as part of their summer camp program for 8-11 year olds. It was incredible to get to know the children, staff and alumni of Family Focus and collaborate on intentional, anti-racist art programming that featured Black artists paired with Family Focus’s instruction on Black History, empowerment and legacy building. I am inspired by the legacy and work of this organization in our community. In our final week, the children made signs to share what message is most important to each of them in this unprecedented time of the global pandemic, continued police brutality and widespread attention on the trauma of structural racism. Their signs of solidarity and hope included: “Be You!”, “Black Lives Matter”, “I Am Me”, “We are all Human”, “You Matter”, “Black Live♥️” and “you are important.”
I made this "you are important" sign to amplify this message which I hope was nurtured in the mind of each participant this summer. It is a purposeful act of love and resilience to invest in the spirit, character and growth of young people as they will envision and make the world anew. Kids create change as the central message of this organization reveals our dedication to the meaningful work of providing art-based, trauma-informed and anti-racist programming to young people. It is our assertion in a weary world, that another horizon is coming... another dawn approaches. It is our collective responsibility as parents, caregivers and nurturers of children to tend to the future which is emerging even as the suffering of the past and present obscures our own view of what is possible. "You are important" must not just be spoken, but must be revealed through our actions. This will change the world.