That’s how the system works in the U.S. It might be different here, but the system exists. Racism. Based on skin colour, name, prejudice. It is wrong in the U.S. and it’s wrong here. But I am willing to learn. And to talk about it, even if it means questioning myself and my comfort zone, reconsidering my familiar views. I don’t know if I will always succeed in my attempt because I have been part of this society for so long. We are all part of it. But we must try. We can take that new step, question, communicate, challenge, practice, learn. Wherever and whenever. We can change the system. Not right away maybe, but we can start, on Instagram, on protest marches, in schools, parliaments, with our families. And maybe, maybe then our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will actually be able to say ‘all lives matter’, because racism will be a thing of the past and a person with a darker skin colour no longer has to fear for his/her life if he/she is stopped by the police.
The T-shirt ‘Unite’ supports the project ‘With Drawn Arms’, a collaboration of my friend and artist Glenn Kaino with the athlete Tommie Smith, that helps to create awareness for social injustice. Tommie Smith and his fellow athlete John Carlos raised their arms in a silent gesture that has become an iconic image of resistance and solidarity during the 1968 olympics. Glenn Kaino translated this gesture of protest artistically in his sculptures ‘Bridge'(2014) and ‘Invisible Man’ (2018). During the project ‘With Drawn Arms’, Tommie Smith and Glenn Kaino traveled through the U.S. and held workshops for students to help them develop an artistic voice and raise awareness on the issues of racism and social justice then and now.