We Stand With Oppressed People Globally

By Michael Jones

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A wise person once said to me, “people read horror into the silence,” regarding where a team stands in the context of todays social, cultural, and political movements. I think that’s good feedback, so I want to make our position as an organization known publicly.

We stand with the oppressed people of the world. We stand against the forces of racism, hate, and fascism. Our educational environment is welcome to those who agree with those two statements. 

Minorities are oppressed and discriminated against in many nations. We encourage all artists to use their talents to further a political revolution towards human rights and equal justice for all people of all nations.

We have hope in generational change, that a new era is still possible, and that artists will play in role in the realization of a better world. But it is not pre-determined and we can’t be complacent. 

Racism & The United States

In the United States, we have a unique, race-based inequality that flows directly from the previous 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow laws (accompanied by generations of domestic terrorism against black Americans), segregation, and today’s mass incarceration of black men. The war on drugs which enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington DC, imprisoned millions of black American men for drug use, that studies show, that was just as frequent in white communities. Black American’s had to fight for even small steps of progress, while they are criticized no matter how they lodge a protest.

For most of American history, Black Americans have been dehumanized. Saying Black Lives Matter is the very same call for humanity we saw in 1960’s with the famous signs reading, “I Am A Man.” It’s asking for humanity and dignity. Saying, “Black Lives Matter,” is not an affront to anyone else, and if you think that you are simply ignorant to the history that got us to this point.

After segregation, black Americans were still systematically excluded from economic opportunity, and forced to endure shocking and frequent examples of police brutality. Black Americans are the constant target of a nationalist politics that seeks to demonize them or any discussion of race relations at all. These injustices continue to this day, and look to continue for some time without serious and substantial cultural, economic, and political progress.

My limited understanding of the dynamics of systemic oppression and public policy comes from the writing of William Julius Wilson, American sociologist, and Harvard professor. Read his book, “The Truly Disadvantaged,” and it becomes clear how systemic factors drive the inequality we see today.

Structural forces (economy, laws) continue to worsen inequality, and will continue unabated without serious reform.

We Support Systemic Changes

To analyze the problem as systemic, means we need systemic solutions. Here are just a few organizations that are seeking fundamental change through effective and specific policy agendas. This list focuses on police reforms, resisting voter suppression, and empowering career advancement. 

Campaign Zero

https://www.joincampaignzero.org/

Campaign Zero is seeking a specific policy agenda related to police reforms. Given the video clips we’re seeing all over the internet it’s clear that police brutality is a crisis level issue in the United States, and likely has been long before the cameras were here to capture it. Campaign zero has a well researched policy platform and appear to be gaining momentum in light of all the shocking police behavior we’re seeing in 2020.

Fair Fight

We believe systemic issues won’t be fixed if voter suppression efforts are successful. Stacey Abrams, in response to outrageous voter suppression in her home state of Georgia, founded this organization to bring resources to bear in protecting peoples right to vote. Minority areas are specifically targeted for voter suppression through long wait times, last minute changes, and closing voting stations. These are constitutional violations, but require the legal funds to pursue justice. 

Thurgood Marshall College Fund

https://www.tmcf.org/

One of the highest rated non-profits focusing on helping black Americans advance their careers after college. An essential step after graduation is getting those first, high-quality positions, and this fund appears focused on this issue. A smart way to use a non-profit structure to move the needle on economic mobility that will have a multiplying effect and build a generation of leaders.

What We’re Doing To Help

We are small a team but we are trying to be a positive influence in the world. A few areas that make the most sense for us to do our part:

  • Fair Pricing Program (International Students, Started Summer 2020)
  • Annual Computer Lab Donation Program (We donated 5 HP workstations to Visible Men Academy 2020)
  • 20 Full Scholarships Per Semester Goal (We did 8 in summer 2020)
  • Seek Out And Lift Up Marginalized Voices
  • Be Politically Active As Artists (Support Candidates, Win Elections)

A Historic Moment

We are witnessing one of the largest global protests (perhaps THE largest) in the history of the human race. It truly feels like we’ve reached an inflection point on pain and oppression so long ignored. A generational shift was coming anyway, but with Covid-19 and great depression levels of unemployment, it seems history is about to speed up.
 
We are a small team, with a small audience of artists who take courses with us. It can seem overwhelming to think about the issues in the US, Hong Kong, Brazil, Turkey, and on and on…But we can’t use the enormity of the work as an excuse to walk away and not engage. 

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.  Do justly, now.  Love mercy, now.  Walk humbly, now.  You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. ~ from The Talmud

We love the motion graphics community, although it is as flawed and unequal as the society it exists inside. The work of making our industry better, lines up with the goals of making our society better. We’re grateful to play any positive role we can in that process.

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