This is a commissioned painting I recently completed. It is an adaptation of a painting I created last summer for a group I work with to raise awareness of human trafficking. For the last three years we have partnered in my community to raise awareness of this crime, with the goal of rescuing and rehabilitating victims.
None of us are Free if some of us are In Chains
Each year, my inspiration comes from a different source. This year, I have been swamped with commissions and did not think I would have time to create a painting for the upcoming auction.
One night, while working in the studio, I heard Solomon Burke’s iconic song come across my tablet, and I had a sudden flash of inspiration. Because of the short time frame, I really had to work hard to get this painting set up and completed in time for The Night of Awareness.
The concepts of individual liberty and human rights are inherent in both my art and the foundations of the modern abolitionist movement. The term freedom is not just an ideological construct; it is a basic human right. Freedom is the natural state of all human beings throughout the world, whether recognized by their governments or not.
Freedom cannot be infringed upon by any society or individual seeking the classifications of just or civilized. Daily, freedom is denied to individuals both openly and covertly, across the globe. We may turn a blind eye here in America, but that does not make the violation go away. It has been said that allowing a crime to go unpunished is itself complicity in the crime.
Unknown or ignored by most people, acts of slavery are committed on a daily basis without any redress for the victims. For the last two years, I have endeavored to use my art as a means to address this issue.
From a moral perspective, we cannot turn a blind eye to the crime of human trafficking. Whether we are effected as individuals or not, whether there is a measurable public health crisis or not, we must eradicate human slavery practices wherever they exist. This is a true social justice issue for which everyone should feel compelled to raise awareness and eliminate its practice.
Human slavery is quite literally a stain on the very soul and fabric of our nation. Let’s come together as Americans and see to our own house, with open eyes, focused effort, and human compassion.
Stand up and be counted among the just.