BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — An event highlighting Black art and Black lives is bringing the McLean County community together.
The Black Liberation Celebration event, Saturday evening, saw dozens of community members come out supporting African-American art such as poetry, music, speeches, paintings, and more.
Chynna Miller, co-organizer, said the point of the celebration was to use the Fine Arts to show support for two separate movements and connect them together.
“We’re celebrating Black voices and we’re also showing solidarity to the inmates as well,” Miller said.
She said growing up performing she’s seen how African-American art often gets shoved underground and she thought it was important that it gets embraced.
“Being able to celebrate Black artists, Black poets, and everything that’s important because our voices need to be heard,” Miller said. “We need to let our creations be known to the world.”
Miller also said the event was staged in front of the McLean County Law and Justice Center as a way to remind the community of the injustices that’s going on within the jails.
“There is some kind of oppression happening in the jails,” Miller said. “Just things and conditions in the jail especially with COVID-19 right now. Right now we’re being voices for not only the Black community but those voices in the jails that aren’t able to be free yet.”
Gregory D. Hicks said after one of the organizers reached out to him, he drove more than two hours just to take part in the event.
He performed Fredrick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is 4th of July” and said he thinks the work bears much resemblance to things happening today.
“Once I actually was reading what it was about, like so many things, this was written in the 1800s and stuff that was said in that is prevalent today in 2020,” Hicks said.
He said African-American work should be embraced because it could be used as a big step in uniting the community.
“If there’s Black art that is out there that is talking about our experience then that needs to be out in the public,” Hicks said. “Because what that’s going to do instead of pushing people away that’s actually going to bring people together.”
He said together we all rise.
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