Doing Something Instead of Nothing

I woke at 4 am thinking of the dark green paint I used to paint the front porch and the small jar of black paint in my studio.  If I mixed them together they’d be as good as black I thought.  And I knew I had more canvas in my studio.  The piece I cut off the dropcloth I bought yesterday to make the “Heroes Work Here” sign for The Mansion would be a good size.

I was surprised that find out that there’s a Black Live Matter chapter in my small town of Cambridge.

A few times I’ve driven by the small group of people standing on the corner of Route 22 and Main St holding signs with:  Black Lives Matter written on them and beeped my horn for support.

I thought about joining them but didn’t.  A part of me wanted to, but a part of thought it an ineffective thing to do.  Who will see us I  wondered? Will we really change someone’s mind standing on corner holding signs?  Are we just talking to ourselves, making ourselves feel good like we’re really making a difference?

Then last night Jon and I watched the very beginning of I’m Not Your Negro the documentary by Raoul Peck based on James Baldwin’s last unfinished book, “Remember This House”.  It was the racist images that got to me.  And when Baldwin remembers a photo he saw of Dorothy Counts who integrated a white school in 1957 and wrote “Some one of us should have been there with her.

It made me want to do something instead of nothing. So I decided to join that small group of  Black Lives Matters supporters on the corner in Cambridge during their protest this evening.

I don’t know if standing on the corner in a small mostly white Upstate NY town will make a difference.  But I do know that sometimes too many questions can just become an excuse not to do something.  And I believe in taking action.  It can’t hurt and it might help.

It turns out that I didn’t have to use the green porch paint to make my sign.  I had a small can of black paint in the basement.

When I hung the canvas with the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on it to dry on the clothesline, I thought of the stories I’ve heard of black people hanging quilts on the clothesline as signs of the Underground Railroad.  I don’t know if that’s true, but, as someone who makes quilts, I like the idea of it.

I also like the idea that my sign hanging on my clothesline today can be read by anyone driving by.


7 thoughts on “Doing Something Instead of Nothing

  1. This was a timely post for me. While walking my dog today, I noticed someone had raised on their tall front yard flagpole a confederate flag with the words “I ain’t coming down” on it. It hung beneath a traditional flag. You couldn’t miss it and I became upset. So hang your banner proudly from your clothesline Maria, and honk your horn. It feels better to do something.

    1. Barbara, I found it to be true. There were two people at the protest walking around yelling “White lives matter” On held a sign with those words written on it, the back of the sign was used for target practice with the outline of a person. One wore a condererate flag bandana. All of us were able to chant louder than the two of them. It made me know that what we were doing did matter.

  2. Beautiful. I too have the same.thoughts when I attend protests, marches, rallies. When I hang my love wins , black lives matter, etc. American flag from When I make donations to causes that matter. There are many paths, no one right way. Even stumbling down one or 2 is so much more than nothing. ♡

  3. Last Friday I was touched to see a very young skinny, nicely dressed white kid standing at the driveway into our Wal-mart, calmly holding a Black Lives Matter sign in our 99% white small town. He looked so vulnerable and alone, an easy target for our malcontents here. I was so proud of him and wished I could have given him more than a “thumbs up” sign. I hope he was ok. He was so brave. One small voice that will be heard here.

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