It's a beautiful day in America! Joe Biden has been elected the next President of the United States. I feel like I can breathe again. The days of psychological and literal tyranny from our current administration are finally coming to an end. They began with the proclamation of a Muslim ban designed to keep people like me out of this country, and were followed by countless racist and exclusionary policies. The true cost of this administration, especially its failure to respond to the global pandemic, will be felt for decades.
There is lots of room to be optimistic about this result. Considering the voter suppression that exists in America (which targets voters of color in particular), the volume of turnout for Biden is nothing short of remarkable. The perseverance of one woman in particular — Stacey Abrams — helped more than 800,000 disenfranchised voters in Georgia make their voice heard this election. These kinds of efforts really matter, and we should celebrate the victories of advocacy from this race.
The razor-thin margins in so many of these races have reminded us that every vote matters. I have been complacent in the past, wondering if anything I did to engage in politics made a difference. But in this election, I prioritized more of my time to write and raise awareness on key issues, and volunteered to text and phone bank to help get out the vote. The results spoke for themselves — every vote, text and call mattered.
I'm under no illusions that the next President will be perfect. But I do know that President-elect Biden is on the right side of many issues including immigration, climate change, healthcare and transportation. Most of all, it's clear that he will give America a much better chance to fight this pandemic, which our current administration has allowed to spiral out of control.
There is lots of work ahead. But today, I'm taking a moment to breathe. To smile. To dance.
P.S. If you're looking to channel some energy into advocacy, the best place to focus your efforts right now is the Georgia Senate run-off races. These two races are crucial to rebalance the obstructionist majority that has deadlocked the Senate and prevented movement on so many crucial issues. You can donate to Fair Fight (a national voting rights organization) and/or check out this toolkit for volunteer resources.
Liberation Lies Within
The ship is never steady,
Rocking and swaying with every wave
A rope ties me to the decks,
Tossing me like a rag-doll
I have no hand in these storms,
The moon’s mood sets the tides
I am no passenger,
Only a prisoner
I peer down at my callused hands,
Their true work begins now
I stand and gaze into the horizon,
I leap off the decks,
Eyes fixed ahead
My will pushes me forward,
The waves push me back
In every stroke, I find liberation
Because I make it
Sink or swim, I welcome my fate
Because I choose it
Earlier this week, I took part in a "post-election poetry" writing session led by Alysia Harris. She encouraged us to take existing headlines of heavy news stories, and re-imagine them with our own thoughts. We started by writing openly and without constraint, then selected key lines that resonated with us to use in the final piece.
I chose to rethink the headline, "Liberation is a Long Haul", and ended with the poem above, which I titled Liberation Lies Within. I was feeling frustrated that so much of my happiness and emotional health was tied to the outcome of this election. I felt like we tend to link ourselves too closely the government or company we belong to, and allow too much of our own happiness to be tied to them. I wondered if I could do more to find peace and stillness internally. I took a bit of creative license with this and followed the story that showed up in front of me. I suspect the tale of the sea I shared last week was still on my mind…
I drew this animation after the third day in a row of closely following the election with no significant changes in the results. It’s been a long week…
Drawing with Procreate
Last week, I partnered with Nate Kadlac to run a brief show-and-tell session on drawing with Procreate. In this video, Nate goes over a demo of how to draw simple but impactful illustrations that he uses with blog posts. I go over the myriad of different types of illustrations, comics and animations in my Procreate gallery.
You get an inside look into my sketchbook!
Watch on YouTube (55 mins)
Bobby's In Deep
The animation in this 1985 cut Bobby's In Deep by Takashi Nakamura is stunning. The fact that it remains so beautiful today is a testament to the timeless nature of his technique. It reminds me a lot of Speed Racer, a cartoon I used to love watching as a child.
Watch on Twitter (1 min)
P.S. If watching the video made you think of the song Take On Me, you're not alone. Lucky for you, someone made a version mixed with the song. The internet never disappoints!
Until next time,