For a while now, I have been feeling extremely powerless against the injustices happening everywhere in the world. Back in June, I couldn't stop thinking about racial inequality, police brutality, LGBTQ+ rights, and the deadly virus that is STILL disproportionately affecting Black and Brown people.
As someone who does not have much money to donate, I began looking for ways that could help draw attention to these issues so I picked up a pen and started drawing from the heart. I borrowed from my Mayan ancestors' aesthetic of snaking vines, blooming flowers, and smiling skulls. We are, after all, the same under our skin and you cannot easily distinguish gender or race from just bones. As I drew, the themes crystallized and I focused on three major issues: Civil, LQBTQ+, and Immigrant rights. As a queer person of color, these three causes are close to my heart and home and I see them as very intertwined. I believe we are all bound by common vines that crisscross our communities.
At first, I did not know what I was going to do with these little drawings. It wasn’t until I got an email from Sticker Mule about a sale on acrylic charms that it all clicked into place. I thought this could be an opportunity to create lots of pieces that will spark conversations in people's daily lives and most importantly can raise funds for organizations in need since they are affordable and fast to assemble.
I am donating my time and skills to make necklaces, earrings, key holders, or maybe something I haven’t thought of yet with these charms. I’m asking that you help me start conversations by using these unique pieces and help me raise money for just causes at the same time. These charms have a base price that covers material costs and domestic shipping. Each piece will costs $5.95 or $8.55 if you would like a leather backing behind the charm. If you would like a pair of earrings, then the price will be twice that at $9.90 for simple earrings or $17.10 with the leather backing. I do ask that you add a minimum donation of 10 dollars or more for each piece or pair purchased. All of your donations will directly benefit Black and Brown people particularly those who are further marginalized for their gender-identity or sexual orientation.
First Cause: Racial Justice, Civil Rights / Black Lives Matter
At the very center of this awareness and fundraising idea, is the Black Lives Matter movement. I stand in solidarity with BLM. I also want to bring attention to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. They are doing so much for racial justice through litigation, advocacy, and education. Part of my goal is to ignite conversations about how we can better our communities and support our Black friends. I was proud to see many of my own friends and family standing up for Black Lives Matter but at the same time I was disappointed to see a political division or the sentiment that people who are non-Black but also feel marginalized think that BLM takes something away from them. It does not. It will make our communities stronger and we can start by educating ourselves and talking about these feelings.
Inspiration: For this design I took those Mayan-inspired vines I described in the beginning and wove them with the roots of the BLM movement and the emblem of Black strength. I decided to include flesh in this design as opposed to the original skeletal idea because I think it is actually important that we acknowledge racism and skin-based bias in our own communities. Realize that Black people have been oppressed for centuries simply because their skin is different shade than the Euro-centric majority. I believe talking about racial inequality with our friends and family and trying to better ourselves with self-reflection is key to grow stronger and blossom together as a community.
Second Cause: LGBTQ+ Rights
I would like to bring awareness to and raise money for is LGBTQ+ causes for people of color. It is especially important to recognize this during pride month and on the anniversary of Stonewall because it was mostly Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people that literally fought in order to be seen and accepted. By doing so, they opened the door towards equal rights for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. The National Black Justice Coalition has been working to empower LGBTQ+ people of color and is on a mission to end racism and homophobia and I think they deserve our support.
Inspiration: This design is simply inspired by love. I just believe that true love knows no gender or color. The vines represent a bond that twists and extends beyond flesh and into the afterlife.
Third Cause: Immigrant Rights
This cause is the closest to home. I grew up in El Paso, Texas which is a very diverse Mexican-American community right on the US and Mexico border. Currently, hundreds of thousands of Latinx adults and children are being detained in immigration camps and jails along the border with no hope for posting bail or getting out. Because of this, I would like to support and bring attention to the work that the LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund has been doing to get LGBTQ+ people of color out of immigration detention and jails across the south.
Inspiration: This design was inspired by my Mexican culture. Specifically, I was thinking about the quinceañeras and other big celebrations we have that go back to our Latinx roots. I started thinking that I could have been born on the other side of the border and my whole life would have been completely different. I could have been a child in one of those detention centers growing up behind bars and being denied a hug from their own mother on their birthday. I can’t stand the thought of these people and children sitting there waiting for a chance for a better life.
I hope these causes resonate with you too. If you would like to add a comment and start a conversation, please do. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask away.