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  • Writer's pictureAshley Park

Art: The Bridge Between Awareness and Action

The majority of the public acknowledges that climate change is a serious problem, but only the minority are proactively addressing the issue. Based on my personal experiences, I have seen that telling a story through art could bridge this gap between awareness and action.

I created a visual art piece titled “I Can’t Breathe,” depicting a Black woman inhaling fumes from power plants and portraying the disproportionate health consequences communities of color face due to their higher exposure to polluting infrastructure. After gaining traction from an Instagram post, the piece now represents the Green Amendment, a national movement to constitutionalize environmental rights and protect marginalized communities from further exploitation. Additionally, Congressman Jamie Raskin presented the piece at a Congressional briefing on the abuses of power by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the harms of their pipeline projects.

My hope is that sharing a story through my art can elicit visceral connections and empathy, which can motivate people to take a step beyond awareness to engage in action. It is moments when I witness the manifestation of art’s unique potential that bring me joy. As my friends or strangers from virtual presentations are inspired to be activists after seeing my art, these individual changes will lead to the advancement of our movements and ultimately, systemic reforms.

As we leverage this power of sharing a story through art, I will always ground myself in the Native American proverb: “Tell me the facts, and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever.”

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