Earth Day Kids News Network

Our talented artist Jakiyah Anderson has done wonderful things in response to the death of Sandra Bland. Read her article!!



Homicide becomes suicide when fear is present. Fear is present when guilt eats you alive.

#Bodies is a collaborative performance project with Jakiyah Anderson, Rontisha Minor, David Townes and Jasmine Wade. The piece raises questions about the underlying racial reality that caused Sandra Bland’s death.

In #Bodies, the skin of an African American man and woman, David and Rontisha, were painted white with black quotes. The two bodies walked through downtown D.C in the late afternoon Saturday July 25, 2015. The quotes and phrases reveal an inner dialogue about what it means to be African American in America today. One quote, “Am I free or dying in America,” expresses the fact that we, African Americans, are not free if our rights are not defended. We can not be free if law enforcement, our alleged protectors, are the same people killing us.

During the journey we received some challenging feedback from onlookers. A radical religious group yelled, “See that right there, that’s bullshit,” and “If Sandra Bland had the same ideology as them, she’d still be here.” They also stated, “more Negroes are going to continue to die if they do not convert.” An African American man told us that we might be respected only because the bodies were painted white and their black skin was not shown. Even more shocking, a Caucasian woman told her child to cover her eyes, and “not to look at that.”

After entering a Starbucks, the cashier immediately exclaimed: “They can’t stand outside because that’s soliciting!” I was confused because I couldn’t think of soliciting as anything other than selling something, so I asked myself “What are we selling?” The definition of solicitation reads, “ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone.” I realized that the cashier was correct, the purpose of our walk was to obtain a conversation and change or ‘sell’ an internal dialog about racial inequality, awareness, and activism. This was a threat.

While we received a lot of negative feedback, we were also able to start conversations with others and leave important questions in the minds of our audience. Many wanted to take pictures of and with the #bodies. They also encouraged us to continue to raise awareness about the racial reality of being African American in America.

We want Sandra Bland’s family and friends to know that through art, activism, and awareness we intend to ensure that Sandra Bland’s death is not in vain. By creating conversations and raising awareness we can continue to fight racism and injustice in this country.

The white-paint shrouded bodies display the evident truths in America,
“Am I free or dying in America? I am Sandra Bland!”


August 6, 2015 The Earth Day Kids No comments yet

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