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.