Posted by: Reginald Cyntje | December 30, 2014

Nia (Purpose): Artivism

What is our purpose on this planet? What is our purpose in our community? What is our purpose in our family? What is our purpose with self? All these questions are connected.

I look at the connected lives of Queen Mary, General Buddoe, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Women’s Political Council, SNCC, the Black Panthers and many others to be reminded of the ongoing rebellion. The reality is that the fight for freedom is not over.

Our ancestors fought for future generations knowing that informants were in their midst. They fought for good despite the physical and mental attacks on people of African ancestry.

Like the Matrix, there are many who don’t want to know the truth. After they learn the plight of their sisters and brothers, it becomes too much to tolerate. They make deals to sell out leaders. But people are still fighting.

Today people are protesting. Technology makes it easier for powers to trace and infiltrate, but that has not deterred voices from speaking out.

In our community we know how the power structure has assassinated leaders, burned children and bombed citizens. Our back has not been broken.

We are still fighting. We are building community despite the many methods used to directly or indirectly destroy. There are detractors who aim to demean the actions of those on the frontlines. But they forget that Malcom and Martin did not agree on everything. All hands are needed to create a climate for justice to blossom.

But for justice to blossom, we must see clearly. I know there are many who refuse to believe that these injustices occur. For those who don’t believe, or say these things are in the past, here are a few things to consider: COINTELPRO, NO-KNOCK, STOP-AND-FRISK, etc. Conveniently many will not research and then act surprised when a video exposes the truth.

The truth is there for us to learn. And history teaches us that our ancestors had allies. I believe in allies. My place of birth had Kalinago and Africans working together to fight off the European occupation. The place where I was raised had women and men fighting for justice.

As an artist, I think about my purpose when it comes to justice. My purpose involves loving self, family and community. And because I love, I use my gift to speak out against injustice. In the process, I hope to inspire positive change in a reader or listener.

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