My favorite part of today was hanging out with a kid who saw chalk and immediately said, “Can I draw something?” First he decorated some letters. Later he wrote “JK” and asked me to translate it. “Just kidding, duh!” I replied. “WOW YOU’RE GOOD,” he said, proud of his JK with a backwards J. “Look, look at what I drew!” he said later. He had drawn three leaves, and was very excited about drawing leaves, even taking one on the ground and tracing it.
I thought about Elizabeth Vega’s story of meeting children who were grieving over Michael Brown, and how one wrote justice with a backwards J.
I was warmed by everyone in the community who created the space to remember Kim King, and by the love for one another and the fierceness with which we insisted that she was worth fighting for. Last night, we talked about how art would be the answer to foster empathy in others, to make people aware, to help them get fed up with being oppressed and being the oppressors. Today, I was reminded that art is also delightful because of the joy that comes from creating for its own sake, from celebrating nature and life, even the nature and life of a leaf. I am looking toward a day when we can have the lightness of spirit that allows us to enjoy art like a child, and not only as powerful tools of resistance. …and even as I write this, I feel the contradictions. Enjoying art like a child /is/ resistance when it is life-affirming, when it asserts that a black kid has the right to life, joy, and community.
When it implies that Kim King deserved more life, joy, and community than was stolen from her. From her and her two toddler sons. From her and her family and friends. From her and all communities that share her pain and struggle.
A student came by and asked what we were gathering for. I explained to him that Kim King was held by Pagedale police, and within 10 minutes was dead. They said that she committed suicide. There are 13 cameras in the Pagedale police department, but no pictures or video have been released. It happened last year. It’s recent because as Kristian said, Kim King still does not have any justice. He asked if he could write something and I said sure.
He wrote Peace.
After thinking about the deep level of suffering our communities have experienced and that which was snatched from Kim King, I felt compelled to amend his assertion.
“No justice. No peace.”