Express Yourself: Artivism

Something I have come to appreciate is the expression of activism through art, or artivism. Whitman students tend to be very politically aware and conscious of many local, regional, national, and global issues and unrest. I grew up in a small, rural town in Minnesota, so for most of my life I lived in an environment that was pretty close-minded to all the world happenings, and attended a high school that did not really incorporate politics or cultural awareness into its curricula. After two years at Whitman, I can confidently say that I now think with a more critical and comprehensive mind and have become conscious of many concepts that shape our daily lives, like systems of oppression, power, privilege, etc.

At Whitman, I have been exposed to different methods of expressing activism, whether it be by rallying, protesting, lobbying, and even art. To me, one of the most notable and ground-breaking events at Whitman is the annual Freedom Songs Concert. This event is totally student led and incorporates activism into dancing, singing, visuals, and multimedia zines. The Freedom Songs Concert is not just for entertainment, but is a way to capture the attention of its audience in a way that get us to think about important issues like immigration, racism, oppression, etc. It’s crazy to think how a song or a dance move can express one’s entire experience under a system of oppression and to me, that is amazing.

What truly makes this concert ground-breaking, is the passion that each performer puts into their performance. These performers don’t strive to fit in with the rest of the performers, but really embrace their unique talents to tell their stories.

Finishing off the concert, all of the performers take the stage together and sing a song. This finale really showcases the unity and solidarity that Whitman students have, no matter your background. At the end of the show, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears because of how moved and empowered I was. This concert made it clear to me that I have a place on this campus and in this world. It also showed me that all of our experiences make us stronger people, and together we can move the world.

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