This Saturday in San Francisco, at the Civic Center Main Public Library, the Bay Area Society for Art and Activism is convening a panel discussion on the role of art and protest in racial justice, specifically as it relates to this present moment in political history. Central to this conversation is Jeff Chang’s recently published book Who We Be: The Colorization of America, which considers the role of race and identity in visual culture; it concludes with the pivotal moment of Trayvon Martin’s killing in Florida in 2012, and challenges the reader to consider a future dominated by a minority majority as predicted for 2043. In addition to Chang, panelists include Ben Davis, author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class and national art critic for artnet news; the Guardian’s own Steven Thrasher; Alicia Garza, community organizer and co-founder of Black Lives Matter; and, fair disclosure, me, an independent cultural critic focused on art and public life.
In recent years, fuelled by peaceful creative protest and technological savvy, a dispersed audience of likeminded participants weary of racial injustice has mobilised online. It is a movement whose time has come, repeatedly, following the deaths of countless other black and brown people under the cloak of structural racism.
Yay! The Bay Area Society for Art & Activism just earned our first media mention–and with The Guardian no less. I hope you’ll join me in feeling proud of the recognition.