Art as an Organizing Tool

As Eveline Shen of Forward Together reminds us, art is a powerful tool in organizing that allows us to connect to our shared humanity and reimagine the world. In this post, we have included some of the most inspiring and evocative pieces on the Forward Together platform that beautifully illustrate a reimagined world.

Protect Trans Kids

by Colin Laurel

This art was created by Colin Laurel (he/him), a Black trans illustrator who uses elements of music, nature, mythology to empower queer communities to embrace radical self-love and healing. In class Eveline Shen encouraged us to view art as love and connection and a powerful medium for community care. Art physically disrupts narratives rooted in neoliberal tradition of whiteness and cis-heteronormativity. In Laurel’s piece, particularly, we see these disruptions in a cathartic and palpable way that centers transness.

Soy Una Promotora

by Micah Bazant

This poster was created by New Mexico Together for Healthcare and the Strong Families New Mexico program of Forward Together, in collaboration with beloved community leader and promotora, Olga Hernandez. Showcasing visible leaders in organizing communities is a powerful tool. Doña Hernandez’s portrait demonstrates that there are women in the community who have been supporting New Mexican families for their entire lives. She is a “champion of well-being for all families,” an ideal that Forward Together fiercely supports.

We Are The Blessed Ones

by Art Twink

This piece titled “We Are The Blessed Ones” was created for Trans Day of Resilience 2017 by Art Twink, in collaboration with poet xoài phạm. Hear the poem that goes with this image here. On their collaboration, the artist and poet wrote: As trans people of color, we rarely get a moment to play. To laugh. To relax. To enjoy ourselves and each other We rarely are given relief from the constant possibility of assault. The news that swallows us all year round rings of Black trans femmes being murdered gruesomely. In our process together, we wanted to center joy: the joy of sisterhood, of relationships among trans people, and of love.

While speaking to our class, Eveline Chen reminded us to come from a place of abundance not scarcity and to not always move from a place of urgency, chasing for crumbs of change. This place of abundance feels present in this image, where all sorts of bodies, forms, colors and tones fill the space. Expressions vary and connection is evident. Part of this work, their work, all our work whether for trans rights or reproductive justice, has never been just about soliciting services from the state but is also about healing and about recognizing and naming the ways that we already have freedom in our palms and in each other. The plaster “we are the blessed ones” disrupts the idea that those who have been deemed deviant are what is bad in the world and asserts that they are actually the ones who’ve been blessed and can revel in that blessing if allowed to just live free and full.