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Out of Many?

Cheryle Galloway | Maryland, United States

"If not us, then who. If not now, then when." ― John Lewis. The White House, Washington, D.C.

The death of George Floyd brought into stark reality black people's experience of dehumanization due to systemic racism foundational in this nation's history from slavery until today in an undeniable and visceral way.

For many Americans coming face to face with this reality has felt like the decline of American values. The vision of “ a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere ” was shattered.

For many of their fellow citizens, this vision was never a reality.

The approach was to photograph as an archaeologist, who has discovered artifacts, fossils and the things left behind by a lost civilization. By removing all social constructs used as tools to divide us, such as race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, skin color, sexual orientation, class or age, the hope is to breakdown all walls to mutuality.

What insight could be gained into who these people were? How they lived? How they loved? What stories could be told about their lives from these remains? What were their values?

Out of Many? asks the question how does America heal to become one nation?

 

I was walking the other day with my son, Miguel, who picked up some ice left over from a snow fall. He looked at it and declared to me "Mommy, this is America." As we walked along, he carried his piece of ice, noticing it was melting and getting smaller, Miguel turned to me and said " Mommy, if Americans can't work together, what will happen to America?" I was stunned and had to tell him honestly I did not know. So I ask you, on behalf of our children, what are we leaving behind when we leave this world?​​

Unlike me, he is American.  In the words of the great James Baldwin, I want for my child exactly what you want for your sons and daughters -"I simply want to be able to raise my children in peace and arrive at my own maturity in my own way in peace. I don't want to be defined by you."

Not until the roots of this tree are dug up, and new seeds planted in the hearts and minds of Americans with regard to race, how we view each others' humanity, the principles of racial equity, liberty and justice for all; the tree will continue to bear the same strange fruit.

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