Images as Fuel for Change: Leading the Conversation on Diversity III

November 12, 2020
This is the third of three takes that I’ve offered on diversity. The first offered an annotated bibliography of historical writings that I have found particularly useful in enhancing my understanding of the context of race relations in America. The second presented a consideration of language in how we talk and think about race and diversity today. The piece included personal material and ended with a story from my being a cancer patient. (See links below at the end of this newsletter.)
Hopefully, those first two pieces on diversity will prove useful to anyone wishing to advance our consideration of diversity generally and particularly regarding race. Below appear four images and two video links that may, especially in combination, further serve that same purpose.
On 11/7/20, Dr. June M. Sellers Tweeted three images together: Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, and Kamala Harris. (Here, I include a fuller version of the painting of Ruby Bridges along with a photo of Barack Obama sitting in Rosa Park’s seat.) Dr. Sellers wrote, “Rosa sat, so Ruby could walk, so Kamala, ahem, that’s Madame Vice-President elect, could run.”

UPI, 1956, for history of the photo see NYT, 12/7/05 and Douglas Brinkley’s Rosa Parks

Pete Souza/The White House.

“I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream.” Barack Obama

Ruby Bridges, 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell, “The Problem We All Live With” posted on:

Bria Goeller and GoodTrouble, posted on

History matters. It shapes meaning. It also elicits emotion or, in my language about change, ‘felt need’– the energy necessary to change. We each energize in different ways, through our heads, our relationships, or our hearts, fleeing fear or pursuing a dream, but without that felt need we cannot begin, let alone sustain, change. History (oral, written, or visual) can provide that energy—shared, collective and potentially nuclear energy. The following clips bear witness to such energy.
(Be sure not to stop viewing the clip before noting the reactions of his colleagues.)
After felt need? Generating options for alternative futures and then pursuing one deemed possible, but it all begins with felt need or nothing truly begins. Images can help to create that felt need and so fuel the process of change. The past can thus birth the future in the present.
Be well. Stay well.