Last week I made the decision to pursue a graduate degree to hone my skills and find my voice as a writer. Yesterday we learned the new administration is discussing cutting all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. [If you are unfamiliar with what these organizations do, might I suggest visiting their websites and taking the time to find out?]
Last night, I attended an open mic event here in Atlanta. One of the poets spoke about these proposed cuts and put it in this context: “Art has now been politicized. Because of this, the act of creating art or experiencing art has become revolutionary. Just by being here tonight to share your words or to listen, you are resisting, you have become an activist.” Regardless of whether your art, in whatever form, is intended to speak to resistance, its very existence defies those who say it is unimportant.
At this same event, a friend asked me how I plan to fight fascism this weekend. I thought of events happening here that I could attend: a night of art intended as resistance, a Sister March in solidarity with those marching in Washington D.C. Those are the big, outside-of-me ways I could fight.
But I also thought about the smaller, inside-of-me things. The ways I choose to spend my time and energy today and tomorrow and each day as we move forward into this uncertain world.
Here’s what I decided:
Today, Inauguration Day, I’m choosing not to spend my energy on the events happening at the Capitol. I didn’t watch Good Morning America as I got ready for work; instead, I caught a few minutes of an old movie on Turner Classic Movies. I listened to a CD of spoken word poetry by Amena Brown (if you don’t know about her, you should) on the way to work instead of listening to the news. I treated myself to a chai latte and a scone. I’m staying off of my personal social media accounts. And I’m writing this blog post. I’m sharing my words and making my art.
Tomorrow, I might march here in Atlanta. I might join my voice with other voices speaking up for those who have been the targets of our incoming President’s bullying. Or I might spend the day working on my art, finding my voice through words on a page, figuring out how I might use it for resistance.
Moving forward, I will continue to search for beauty being restored in this world.
I will look for it in paintings and books and spoken word and theatre and dance. I will look for it in churches and nonprofits and community gardens. I will look for it in protests and phone calls to Senators and Representatives and the preparations for local elections. I will look for it in the every day lives of my friends and neighbors and in gatherings around dining room tables and in the ways we support each other through whatever comes.
There may be other ways in which I must resist. Moments when my faith calls me to resist with more than words. I hope I will be ready when those moments come.
Top photo credit: Pfauenauge, Creative Commons