I have been reading “Social Justice Art: A Framework for Activist Art Pedagogy” by Dr.
Marit Dewhurst. In this fascinating book, she writes about art’s power to engage students in thinking about their role in addressing social injustice. Dr. Dewhurst identifies three key moments in the creation of art that impact the artist’s intention to change social
injustice: connecting, questioning, and translating.
Connecting to the audience is very important. In the song Breathe written by
India Arie, she is connecting to the television viewer as they are home watching the news. Empathizing with the audience as they see news coverage of Eric Garner’s death and his last words, “I can’t breathe.” According to the New York Post, Eric Garner died on July 14, 2014, in Staten Island, New York after police put him in what was described in the article as a chokehold.
The words of Ms. Arie’s song begin, “Sometimes you just can't believe the things your eyes see, So much injustice in this life, If it's happenin' right on your TV screen, So
you drop to your knees and you're prayin', 'Cause you can hear him sayin' he can't breathe.” Ms. Arie spoke to Essence magazine about how she feels her mission with her
music is to spread hope and healing through her words and music. This song is on the album, Worthy.
Sullivan, C. (2014, November 04). Man dies after suffering heart attack during arrest. Retrieved August 27, 2017, from http://nypost.com/2014/07/18/man-dies-after-suffering-heart-attack-during-arrest/
Dewhurst, M. (2014). Social justice art: a framework for activist art pedagogy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
This blog chronicles my research in activist art and my life as a woman in academia.