After the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, Baltimore City saw a surge in artistic political expression. Citizens began to take action on community issues by creating art. Art allowed individuals to gain perspective on local realities and often created space for people to begin envisioning a new world. The beauty of art activism resides in its inclusiveness; anyone can participate. This is something we see happening all over Baltimore City. We have elementary and middle school students expressing themselves through photography, university students showcasing art that tackles the black experience, and seasoned community organizers collaborating on art projects, such as Madre Luz, that actively resist confederate memorialization and regressive ways of thinking.
Sexual assault is a hot topic right now. We have the #MeToo movement, brought about by Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct in the workplace, as well as a slew of other movements addressing the same issue. Just this week, Bill Cosby was found guilty on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault and could be facing up to 30 years in prison. These movements have permeated popular culture, at times becoming the focal point of major broadcasting stations, but somehow they have been unable to change, or even shift, the culture in higher education.
So many students are affected by sexual violence. With a problem this large, we should make it our mission to protect them. We should arm them with information, not only about how to prevent these things from happening, but also about what to do in the event of a violation. Where do you turn if you were assaulted? What do you do if it happens to a friend? Are other students facing the same problems and, if so, how do they feel about it? I wanted to address these questions in my activism project, and I believe I was able to do so.