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.