The Concert of Colors event at the Arab American National Museum last night got me thinking a lot about activism in its various forms and the responsibility of it. Every panelist on the stage was a person of color whose identity has brought them to experience or at least come close to oppression of some form, which then served, to some degree, as inspiration for their current activism. The audience included black, white, and brown people all gathered to learn from the activists as they discussed state violence and healing through art.
Prior to coming to Detroit, many of the injustices faced by some Detroiters everyday were things I learned of in a lecture hall or an example offered in a literary discussion in relation to broad themes from American literature. Though those brief discussions and examples inspired compassion, empathy, and frustration among other feelings, it did not lead to an understanding of how important it is to be an activist, or what I could do to contribute to the fight. Being here however changed that because I got to hear from and see people who have experienced the injustice that I learned about from the comfort and safety of a classroom.There is an Alice Walker quote that says something like “Activism is my rent for living on this planet” and the more activists I’ve seen and issues I’ve learned about here, the better I’ve come to understand that no one should be exempt from fighting in injustice, the fight may look different from one person to the next but still, we must all fight.