Some images, sounds, and words to lift darkened spirits and bolster the courage we’ll all need in the days and years ahead. There may be occasional updates. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments.
“We the People” Protest Art
By Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, and Ernesto Yerena, for the Amplifier Foundation. Download hi-res versions and find out more here.
Thea Gilmore, “Start As We Mean to Go On”
A song of joyful resistance.
Staceyann Chin, “Racism”
The spoken-word artist delivers a blistering call to arms.
Ursula K. Le Guin, always necessary, offers a meditation:
The river that runs in the valley
makes the valley that holds it.
This is the doorway:
the valley of the river.
What wears away the hard stone,
the high mountain?
The wind. The dust on the wind.
The rain. The rain on the wind.
What wears the hardness of hate away?
Courage, compassion, patience
holding to their way:
the path to the doorway.
And from her famed National Book Awards speech:
Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality.
We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.
Rebecca Solnit, from “Hope in the Dark”
Anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it. Though there is no lottery ticket for the lazy and the detached, for the engaged there is a tremendous gamble for the highest stakes right now. I say this to you not because I haven’t noticed that this country has strayed close to destroying itself and everything it once stood for in pursuit of empire in the world and the eradication of democracy at home, that our civilization is close to destroying the very nature on which we depend — the oceans, the atmosphere, the uncounted species of plant and insect and bird. I say it because I have noticed: wars will break out, the planet will heat up, species will die out, but how many, how hot, and what survives depends on whether we act. The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as of the grave.
Turn your head. Learn to see in the dark. Pay attention to the inventive arenas that exert political power outside that stage or change the contents of the drama onstage. From the places that you have been instructed to ignore or rendered unable to see come the stories that change the world, and it is here that culture has the power to change the world. Often it appears as theater, and you can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors onstage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program.
Stories move from the shadows to the limelight. And though the stage too often presents the drama of our powerlessness, the shadows offer the secret of our power.