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Monday, June 8, 2020

We All Need ro Rise.

     Over the weekend I spent some time painting in Uptown on one of the hundreds of businesses with plywood over their windows. This is on the corner of Lake and Hennepin, kitty corner to Calhoun Square. It was organized by the Uptown Association, and I was happy to take part. I thank Adam Turman for pointing me in their direction.
I got to choose what I wanted to paint. I like doing portraits, and poets have the best words to heal/energize/challenge/comfort/excite people.
      A man on the street asked if I had any pictures of myself working. I did not, despite many people stopping, and many of those asking if it was okay, to take a picture while I worked. So he took these this morning and sent them too me. Maya Angelou was a hero of his, as she is to my mother.
      I had a lot of positive feedback from people on the street. Honking their support, thanking me for my work, leaning out of their car while driving and shouting, "Fuck YEAH! I love it!" What I was doing was such a small thing in the scheme of a smashed and broken city, but it clearly mattered to some people that it was starting to look better.
      And then there was the picture taking. Everyone was taking pictures of everything. From casual folks out on a stroll to dudes with fancy camera gear setting up tripods.

      The city looks very different now. The rage of generations pounded out the glass of every business for miles, swallowing some in flames. Perhaps we can all see more clearly how things really are, making everything in our old neighborhoods new. The curtain has been drawn back enough now that even white people can see the broken system we've all been taking part in.

      I was asked if I new of any black painters who could help with the painting in Uptown. I knew one. That's a problem for someone who likes to think he's somewhat connected to the art world in the Twin Cities.
I also wonder if I wasn't a white male if people would have asked my permission to take my picture.

      This isn't about me, though.
      As a white male, I was born into a system created by other white males to keep white males on the top of society's pyramid. The system was built for me to just be happy with where I am and not to worry my fancy little head about it. I was great. The system told me so.
I benefited from that racist/sexist system, and with all that has been happening, it seems a fine time to tear it down and build a new one that is fair for everyone.
      I am doing the best I can to educate myself. I want to stay informed, I want to fight for a better way. Sometimes I'll do it through donations, or activism, or my art, or a combination of things. I'm going to keep my mouth closed and do a lot more listening (I really the hypocrisy of saying that near the end of my wordiest post in years).
      I won't let this moment pass by standing still. I want to keep pace with it and help push it forward. I'm not a white saviour. I'm striving to be a humble worker bee, and I'm ready to work hard for the human hive.

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9:56 am edt 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Ethics of Dissent

Hello from Minnesota.

In what seems like several lifetimes ago, I made a comic strip days after Trump's inauguration, and it went viral. It was a lighting strike moment in my career. Rosemary O'Leary, professor at the Univeristy of Kansas, asked to include that comic strip in her book, "The Ethics of Dissent", which I have now received a copy of. I am proud and honored to be included in it.

It's a big moment in America right now. Stay safe. Listen to each other. Fight for equality. Be loud. Never give up.

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11:48 pm edt 


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