Organized by the 100 Black Men of West Texas, a Silent Solidarity Walk took place in downtown Lubbock on the evening of June 1st. By then, thousands of people were coming together across the nation to protest police brutality and systemic racism, so I eagerly attended the solidarity walk because I wanted the Movement for Black Lives to find a place in my West Texas town.
One of the key driving factors in Rankine’s conversations throughout Just Us is the idea of making space in conversations: for herself, for her conversational partner, as well as for the reader.
The world I inhabit is one that first existed in imagination. Even though Jim Crow policed their bodies and their lives, activists protested and endured violence so that in a sea of raised white hands in a classroom, I could raise my own. Perhaps arriving at black liberation isn’t the point. The project of liberation will always be an unfinished one, a symphony amid composition.
One essential task of writers accompanying movements for social change is to make visible that which is hidden. Counternarratives are a practice in that visibility. They acknowledge that abolishing structures of domination must go hand in hand with eliminating ideologies of harm. When this concert between analyses of structural and ideological conditions is achieved, new visions of freedom are possible.
The curators of “Material Intimacies” have successfully created an exhibition that “examines intimacy as an encounter shaped by colonialism’s globalizing force.” Each artist uses the materials commodified for the colonial project in order to create art that is elevated in a white wall gallery space while forging new relationships and bonds in the face of violence, exploitation, and displacement.