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I Am...

In my over twenty years of teaching exoerience, this is the first time I've been a witness to a group of young people so empowered and unafraid to be open about who they are, what they want, and how they want it. They are open about their sexuality and can express how they want to be addressed. They are changing the vocabulary we use daily. They are protesting and being activists for what they believe in. They are continually standing up for their own rights and the rights of others while refusing to see the state of our country as something they cannot change. They are artists and scholars, creating and exploring new areas of expertise. They refuse to stay silent and they are using their strength to effect social change and create excitement not seen in this country's youth in decades. They are strong yet, despite this, they are still vulnerable.


The closed eyes in this series reminds us how innocent and angelic a child looks while sleeping, yet when awoken, they have limitless power and are a force to be reckoned with. These faces confront us and remind us that, while capable of being outspoken in ways that make them appear as adults, these young adults are still children. They are still in need of protection through guidance, support, and better legislation, lest these contemplative portraits become portraits of the dead.

This whole series of oil paintings can be seen at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative offices in Redwood City, CA. 

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