Holding the Door
When choosing a question, I decided to answer “what is your American Creed?” because I thought there was a lot that I could learn and explore through research trying to answer the question. I started by researching Americans that lead movements for equality, like Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, Abraham Heschel, and Malala Yousafzai. When researching Martin Luther King, I found that he “wanted to live out the true meaning of [America’s] creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” (King 1963). His creed was striving to reach equality for African Americans and bringing America to treat them equally. Although America claims to treat all people equal, that is not the case. I found similar ideas with Bayard Rustin, a black lives and gay rights activist who worked with King. He “never felt any shame or guilt about his homosexuality,” and he wanted to share that pride with others like him (Dommu 2019). His creed was reaching equal treatment of gay people and ending hatred towards them. Jewish activist Abraham Heschel, who also worked with King, believed in equality of all religions. Today, women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai believes “there should be no discrimination against languages people speak, skin color, or religion.” (Yousafzai). No matter who you are, you should have the same rights and opportunity as anyone else. Although neither Yousafzai or Heschel are from America, they have inspired many Americans to strive for equality and fight discrimination. Realizing that America has claimed to end discrimination, but allows it to continuously resonate throughout the country; I conclude that my American creed is based on the belief to fighting for equality by following the teachings of past and present American leaders.
To reflect this in my artwork, I decided I needed to depict the American leaders and the symbols of what they represent. I drew the wall to represent discrimination and segregation of the minorities I researched --- African-Americans, LGBT members, women, and Muslims and Jews --- from the generic strait, white, Christian male. It was an inspiration from President Donald Trump’s Mexico Wall and the Berlin Wall, which also symbolize division and segregation. I showed the four leaders holding doors open to represent them trying to the integrate the people on both side of the wall. I drew myself leading the walk to the other side of the wall to show my creed of following the teachings of these leaders to end discrimination and strive for equality. On the wall, there are messages about how equal America is, representing how America claims to be that way, but they are the ones that built the wall in the first place. The torn pieces of flag are meant to make it appear like the American flag --- its symbol of freedom and equality --- was ripped away, revealing what America is truly like. The title, “Holding the Door” encompasses the idea of integration and reaching equality; letting all people be where they chose and let them be equal.
Dommu, Rose. “Bayard Rustin Was Almost Considered Too Gay to Work with MLK.” Out, 9 Jan. 2019, www.out.com/news-opinion/2019/1/09/bayard-rustin-was-considered-too-gay-work-mlk.
King, Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream.” "I Have a Dream...", National Archives. 1963, www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Abraham Joshua Heschel.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 1 Jan. 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/Abraham-Joshua-Heschel.
Yousafzai, Malala. “Malala's Story | Malala Fund.” Malala's Story | Malala Fund, Malala Fund. 2018, www.malala.org/malalas-story.