Melanie Cervantes, 8.5″ x 11″ 3-Layer , Handmade Screenprint Acid-Free 80lb paper, Printed in my kitchen, San Leandro, CA 2016
As a effervescent and cheery sixteen year old Xicanita growing up in a small working class town called Lawndale, in the South Bay of Los Angeles, I increasingly felt disempowered as the years passed. I became discouraged by the major injustices I witnessed that impacted me and the people who I loved.
The 1990 Gulf War.
The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising.
Pete Wilson’s racist and xenophobic Prop187.
I was a stranger to optimism, in my teenage years, because I couldn’t see a way to change these huge injustices or the smaller ones I had to struggle with daily. Too familiar was a feeling of hopelessness. However, in my twenties I found a sense of community, at my junior college, in campus based organizing that helped me feel like I could forecast a future for myself and for my community. And each day, together, we would reside in a great feeling of bountiful love and justice by struggling for change together. This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. captures this moment of consciousness about our interdependence and ability to transform ourselves and our reality.