February 2019 - Josiah Sims

Happy Black History Month, friends. May you and I have the courage and strength to stand up for and alongside our black brothers and sisters. This month, yes. But always.

This month, I had the honor of partnering with my friend from college, Josiah Sims. Josiah is a black artist living is San Diego, CA. Please check out (and BUY!) his art here. He is all those things and much more. He loves God and others, has eyes to see systemic and generational injustice, a passion to educate white and brown folks and has such creativity.

Below you will read his voice, unedited. The bold numbered questions are the actual questions I sent. And the quoted text is Josiah. We spent some time on the phone unpacking question 2.

1. What is the injustice you experience (specifically related to Black History Month)?

The miseducation of African Americans based off my personal experience, more specifically black males.

2. What is your role or experience?

I'm gonna have to call you or FaceTime to explain number one from my personal experiences past present an future lol

On the phone, Josiah shared more details about the false narrative and miseducation surrounding black men and women. He spoke of the general acceptance of police brutality, stereotyping of black single mothers and his own experiences. Two of his thoughts have stuck with me since our phone call.

The first thought came up as Josiah addressed the stereotype of black single mothers. He gently brought up slavery (which I would never feel comfortable or confident doing) and the treatment and expectations of black slave women. Often, black women were torn from their families to be sold as slaves, raped by their owners and expected single-handedly raise the children. He asked the question that I hadn’t even thought to think. Do we think 400 years of learned patterns won’t play out in the black community?

The second was in regard to losing his hard-earned identity. Josiah was an athlete all of his life. When we met, he was a sprinter for the track team at Washington State University. After graduated, he left Pullman and his athletic identity to pursue other dreams. Now in San Diego, he is no longer known as the “well-mannered athlete”. He is given the miseducated identity of a black male, and has the false narratives of what that mean forced on him.

3. How has creativity or art brought reconciliation for you or this injustice?

Art is my favorite outlet! within my art I can say everything without having to say anything my suppressed emotions my hopes my dreams & desires my heart for others an those around me what God is teaching me or what I'm learning in tha moment it's all there an more recently my history an my cultures history has begun to show its face within my works but the most beautiful part about art is the dialogue the conversations that follow afterwards i have friends of all races yet my white friends I've been able to have great conversations around my pieces talking about black history an how it's American history yet not treated that way I live for conversations that bring restoration!!! It's so necessary I'd like for people to sit with people around food an share stories about personal experiences to help give uninformed or misinformed things that have already taken place in individuals lives to help all us understand better I believe if we fought for understanding as much as we do

Being right we would be in much better shape as society yet above all that if we do anything an have not love what's the point?!? In my art the unconditional love I've been shown by God is the primary driving force to express who He's created me to be an it's the reason I wanna see reconciliation I know it's only possible with Him but that doesn't mean just pray an sit on our butts it's gettin over ourselves an outta our comfort zones to attack those things keeping us as people divided

4. What is one practical way you want to see people get involved?

I'd like to see people have more meals together with those that font look like them and have a real story swap experience swap conversation around food I believe that'll change perspectives 

It was an honor to hear Josiah’s story and share it with the world. Below you will see the art piece I created as representation of Josiah’s story. This print is for sale in our “SHOP” tab. Any profit will be shared with Josiah and HEAVY Artistry.

Voices of the People: Introduction

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Hi friends. It feels good to be writing on the RECONFIGURE blog. So far, I haven’t utilized this space to its potential. I feel too busy (I probably am!) and don’t want to start something I can’t do well. So in light of that, I am collaborating with others so we can do something well together!

This idea has been deeply shaped by my experience at the #EvolvingFaith Conference in Montreat, NC. During a Q&A, the new (s)heroes of mine, challenged us in spaces of privilege to give our platform (#sharethemic) to those who have been ignored or kept quiet. Not just speak on their behalf.

So here I am taking the challenge. I am hosting a 12-month collaborative blog series to elevate voices of people experiencing injustice.

Each blog post will focus on a different topic based (loosely) off of the “Awareness” calendar. I will ask each guest blogger the same 3 questions, listed below. I will post their answers on my blog and create a piece of art to represent their answers. See questions below.

  1. What is the injustice here?

  2. What is your role or experience?

  3. How has creativity or art brought reconciliation for you or this injustice?

  4. What is one practical way you want to see people get involved? 

The purpose of this blog series is to bring awareness and action to different social justice issues using words and art. And by action, I mean action with your body and resources.

My hope is to quiet my voice (at least once a month) to listen. I also hope that you listen and buy art to support this work. Your contribution will go toward the cause of the month and your art will stand as a reminder for action.

The art I created for this introduction is a symbol of what it could look like for a white woman to share the platform. I imagine when this happens, other colors will come to light. There will be deep blues of sorrow, fiery reds of anger, bright yellows of joy, and purple hues of transcendent love. I also believe that it can be hard for those of us in privileged places to share. It can feel like we step into unknown shadowy areas, unsure of our roles or own experiences. But when we come together, we see how our shadows and colors dance. We see how we belong together for a gorgeous bigger picture. Please join in the artistry.

Here is the line-up for 2019. If you have friends that are effected by or passionate about changing any of these areas of justice, please let me know! Also, if you know the month for a cause you care about, comment below so I can add it to the list.

  • February: Black History Month

  • March: Women’s History Month

  • April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

  • May: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Awareness Month

  • June: LGBT, World Refugee Day

  • July: National Black Family Month, Minority Mental Health Awareness

  • August: Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Overdose Awareness Day

  • September: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Suicide Prevention Month

  • October: Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month,  Prison’s Week

  •  November: Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month/Week

  • December: Spiritual Literacy Month, AIDS Awareness Month

  • January: Human Trafficking Prevention Month

My first collaboration will drop this week for Black History Month. Keep your eyes and heart open, friends.

Introducing RECONFIGURE

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Hello there! You found us, or maybe we found you. Whatever the case, we are here, together. Do you love being creative? Do you love people? Maybe you love both, hey, us too!

You see, ReconFigure is about way more than creating fun, expressive art. Let us explain.

We exist to do the harder, and more creative work of building authentic relationships with mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters experiencing isolation from community through the selling and giving of art and kindness.

We are about more than the artist and more than the art. Art is a beautiful platform, but that’s just it. It is the platform. For us, art is a platform for reconciliation. We created ReconFigure with the hope to reconfigure the world through art. We sell art and at the same time give away art with guidance on how to engage people in your city experiencing isolation from community.

Our vision is big and we are in the process of taking practical steps to get there. We are excited for the possibilities. One person taking a piece of art to a nursing home, could turn into one beautiful conversation, which could lead to another beautiful conversation, which could lead to a beautiful relationship and friendship, essentially ending the loneliness for that one person.

We are excited you stopped by to be a part of reconfiguring it out. (You like that?!)