Scrolling through my Facebook feed and following the ugly events that are unfolding in Virginia right now, it’s hard not to feel a sense of despair, anger and helplessness. No, it’s not my country, but this is my world, and as a human being and parent deeply concerned about the direction this world is headed in, I believe we have a collective responsibility to speak up and join what needs to be a global conversation. It’s all too easy to shrug the shoulder and abdicate all responsibility, arguing that this is a US problem, but therein lies the insidious viaduct through which this hatred spreads. By remaining silent we become complicit. By refusing to dig really deep on our own (often privately held) beliefs or assumptions, and questioning where those beliefs came from, what continues to propagate them and how we, by a process of osmosis, pass them on to our children, we allow this powerful and dangerous venom to gather pace, to become a tidal wave that will continue to drag angry people into its devastating current.
Charlottesville is just one more headline. There have been so many over the past few years that we are literally becoming immune, our eyes glazing over and brains refusing to engage with the horror. The world is hurting right now and our bloody history would appear to have taught us nothing. And, perhaps even more worrying, as we look to global leaders to help us find the answers, to steer us back to the path of progress, we are left with very few, if any, guiding lights.
However, I do also believe that change is afoot, and for every person who chooses to remain neutral and not engage in the uncomfortable debates of our time, there is another who is too damn furious to remain silent. This is when we must do our jobs as people who make art. The writers must write, the painters must paint, the photographers must capture the essence of a movement through the probing lenses of their cameras. Do whatever it is you need to do in order to provoke these necessary debates, the debates that matter to you, whether they are about race, about children living in poverty in the wealthiest countries of the world, about how we are slowly but systematically destroying our planet and the creatures that inhabit it, about the lack of adequate mental healthcare for your best friend who is sinking into the darkest abyss as a result. Create from your heart; there is no other place to create from. Communicate from the depths of your soul. Use your gift to be an agent of change. Gather your tribe and shout loudly about the crimes you refuse to be an accomplice to. Your contribution might feel small, you might question its significance, you might feel disempowered and hopeless. Honestly, I feel all of these things, but I also truly believe that every single thing we do that contributes in some way to continuing and progressing the narratives around these hugely important topics is valid and is necessary. Art is valid and is necessary. Making people laugh, dance, think, engage reflect, and question, even if it’s just for a moment in the madness of their day, is valid and is necessary and you, as a creative person can and do have a role to play in our collective healing, in our evolution as a species who give the vaguest fuck about our fellow human beings.
The Revolution is coming and it will be creative, so be brave and lend your talent where it’s needed.