Art for social change!
Art connects people, creates a shared experience, allows space for relationships to form and stories to be communicated. Art is a powerful force for social change. For the past four summers, artist Christopher Holt traveled with Serve To LEAD to the Dominican Republic, to share his time and talents with communities using visual art to build relationships among young people contending with systematic racism and stateless status. His efforts open the eyes of the heart to see our common humanity and promote personal and collective healing.
While preparing for last summer’s mural project, Christopher shared this with students who would join us in our mission…
“An estimated 232 million people currently live outside their country of origin, many having moved for a variety of reasons in which the search for protection and the search for opportunity are inextricably entwined. On the island of Hispaniola there is a long history of tension and struggle between two neighbors, Haiti and Dominican Republic, where wars and atrocities are frequent throughout their shared history. Currently, the human rights debate that puts Dominican Republic and Haiti on opposing sides is centered around the declaration by the Dominican government that those born of foreign, undocumented parents could not be recognized as Dominican. Many of those who have publicly opposed the ruling and defended the Haitians have been cast out as traitors, while tens of thousands remain stateless and in fear of deportation.
Beneath all of this political turmoil, a human drama unfolds. In the small and mostly poor villages of the Dominican, the people of the island struggle to get by— Haitians and Dominicans alike. They live and work together as friends and neighbors, lovers and enemies, going about the daily toil to survive. Is there a solution to a problem that hurts people of both nations whose destinies are bound together? How can art be used as a way to create positive dialogue, inspire, and bring people together in such an environment?
We enter this dialogue as compassionate friends, fostering peace, and donating love to a creative endeavor whose goal is as simple as completing a project, together. Using art as our means of communication, we serve alongside those entrenched in this struggle to strengthen community bonds through shared creation.”
Thank you to Christopher and all of Serve To LEAD’s friends who strive with us to address global poverty in a holistic way. Christopher will be joining us to continue this important work in the summer of 2018.