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  • Samantha Lerouge

Shaking the Table for Black Voices

The death of George Floyd, has caused an "eruption of consciousness", where people are realizing the unfair & inhuman treatment of Black People in this country. Racism, something that may be taboo to speak about to some, is now the topic of discussion within our community and workplace.

In my work and personal life, I have always had a passion in celebrating Black Voices and Black Excellence. In my current role, I helped redesigned a local shopping mall’s commission-free art gallery and re-named it the “Art Society. One of my responsibilities was to curate a theme for each art series and connect with local art organizations to help outsource artists.

With the current conversation around the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I decided that the theme should center around that. However, getting approval for this theme was an onerous task since many of my higher-ups were hesitant, which resulted in endless zoom meetings, deck presentations, and approvals. In addition, the name of the town where the mall is located is called “Plantation” *side eye* . The town’s name itself intensified the corporate's team hesitation since they were unsure on how the community will react towards the theme. Some of my counterparts looked at me crazy for even daring to present this theme to the corporate team, but I knew it was time to shake the table. Though a very grueling process, the opportunity to be able to support my Black community while providing a forum to local artists to reflect on this powerful moment in our country was rewarding. The art series titled “Black Voices” finally debuted on July 10th in the mall’s art gallery, and as a Black women I couldn’t be prouder.

Working on this project really TESTED my patience lol, "No Jimmy the man in the artwork is not dishonoring the American flag...he's praying with" . It also showed me how people just categorize Black people in one box. I had to remind people that Black people are not monolith and that we all share different experiences, opinions, and voices.

I really do marvel at the resilience, tenacity, and beauty that us Black people have. Honestly, we go through SO MUCH on a daily basis emotionally and mentally. With the daily dealings of Karens and Kens in the workplace, to coming home to hear another innocent Black life was taken and that justice was STILL not served for the murder of Breonna Taylor, our black excellence permeates through. This blog post is just a reminder that regardless of where you're at in your life, we all can play a role in this Black Lives Matter Movement. Shake the table, bust down doors, do whatever you need to do to have our voices heard!

Featured artists: Nivia Bejarano aka @thenivia, Vasilios Tryphonas aka @vasilios8500, Will Simoson aka @timelessartz, Ernesto Ruiz Bry aka @ruizbry_art, John English aka @everythingmadefresh, and Michael Hugue aka @huguetheartist.




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