By Dr. Danny M. Cohen - Unsilence Founder & Interim Executive Director
I'm excited to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes work on our Unsilence collaboration with The Sisterhood, a collective of Chicagoland mothers, all women of color, whose children have been killed by senseless gun violence.
Over the last few months, renowned Chicago-based artist Cecil McDonald Jr. has been conducting photo-sessions with the mothers. Working closely with founder of The Sisterhood, Gwendolyn Baxter, an exciting and important framework has emerged:
At the heart of our Unsilence online exhibition will be two sets of photographic portraits. The first set of portraits will depict each mother in her everyday clothes and in an everyday setting of her choice. The second set of portraits will be a series of studio shots, in no specific location, the mothers wearing their group shirts.
By presenting these two sets of portraits side-by-side, our online exhibition will connect and contrast the individual narratives of each mother with the collective story of The Sisterhood as a group of activists who support one another.
This framework – each mother’s individual narrative entwined within the story of The Sisterhood – will drive the learning experience we are designing, and will help us achieve our goals: (1) To unsilence the personal and collective grief, trauma, activism, and healing of mothers of color. (2) To humanize their murdered children who are so often portrayed in a negative light in the media. (3) To help communities across Chicago talk about systemic violence. (4) To connect Chicagoland communities, because we’re in this crisis together and we can only solve it together.
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