Photo by Emily Schwank
We took down our boards last week. When I arrived to the shop, our team had begun removing the screws holding our boards up. As each board came down something poetic happened while I was standing there watching… my privilege hit me like a ton of bricks. My privilege of seeing natural light. A light I knew, a light I relied on, a light I loved and took for granted. The boards covering the window took that light away, a light I didn’t truly grasp the impact of until it came back.
For weeks, the light in our space was mostly artificial with subtle hints of natural light here and there. It got me thinking in the abstract, some people never even get a chance to feel or see the natural light. Some people are given artificial light, light that is made to seem pure and well-intended and fair, but it is just a space with boarded up windows and a light switch.
Our lack of natural light and the boards that blocked it is a metaphor for the intentional design of our systems that benefits specific groups of humans over others, while actively taking away, neglecting, and blocking the natural light from communities who need it most.
Every day, we need to unapologetically demand that the metaphorical boards of oppression come down. We must continue educating our friends, family, and strangers on the boards that were designed around us to keep us boxed in from seeing the entirety of the natural light. We must work together to ensure the boards come down and send them straight into the wood-chipper. This is not going to be as simple as one electric drill nor one human; it is going to take all our collective power and fury to dismantle. This work will not be easy, there are a lot of tight screws in the boards of oppression. Some screws are bigger than others, some screws are higher than others, some hold more weight, some might be stripped, and we will have to find another way to wedge tools in to get them out. We can no longer accept these structures of oppression and the screws that keep them in place. We must actively resist the addition and tightening of screws, let’s grab our tools and see to it that natural light shines in.
- Shea is the "Countess of Creativity" at Silver in the City, in addition to keeping the store's social media and website humming with amazing images, insights, and stories, she keeps our Mass Ave location merchandise on point. If you don't follow SitC on Facebook or Instagram, you're honestly missing out.