With a challenging year soon to be behind us, we asked community members to share their vision of what they hope becomes of our city post-pandemic.
by C. Davida Ingram
This year has kicked my ass and cracked my heart open. These are not bad things. It’s not about me. It’s time. Ours. The U.S. has led in COVID deaths because we lead by oppression. Imagine if we could ever think beyond capitalism, misogyny, racism, and rapaciousness. Imagine if we gave ourselves breathing room and a fighting chance.
COVID keeps asking us to care. It’s asking on behalf of our elders, children, health care workers, parents and caregivers, educators, essential workers, and our larger society.
We moralized AIDS, the last pandemic. We can’t moralize breathing. I guarantee you use your lungs more promiscuously than you’ll ever use your genitals. We all breathe the same air. The conditions in our Department of Corrections sites, nursing homes, hospitals, farms, and far too many precariously held homes tell us we need new ways. Right now, millions of people are losing their homes, or can’t pay rent, or did not have stable housing to begin with. Yet, we are the richest country on the Earth.
The vivid object lesson of COVID is liberation. Period. That’s a beautiful thing.
It leaves us with the provocation of imagining being a real Lover. I’m not talking cheap romance but rather a world where everyone is valued. We need true Lovers. People who love people. People who believe we all need space to hone and share our gifts. People who are nurtured and give that same care in return.
Greed, prisons, the breaking of families (of all kinds), violation of dignity, ignorance are so obscene and so clear to see in this pandemic and its display of dehumanizations. Meanwhile, so many different dreamers are awakening, murmuring maybe we can cherish one another instead. I like listening to their song.
C. Davida Ingram is an award-winning artist and civic leader based in Seattle, Washington who believes in liberation, abolition, and mutual aid. Her artwork, curatorial projects, and writing discuss race and gender via lens-based media, social practice, performance art, lyrical essay and installation art. In 2014, Ingram received the 2014 Stranger Genius Award in Visual Arts. In 2016, she became a Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow. In 2018, she was awarded the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency at the University of Washington. Seattle Magazine has voted Ingram both one of the 20 most talented people in Seattle (2016) and one of Seattle’s most influential people (2017). Her art is part of the collections of the City of Seattle, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Frye Art Museum, and private collections. You can find her work @idebelle76 on Twitter and Instagram.
Illustration by Alexa Strabuk