Rochester has always been a city I have admired with the utmost respect and curiosity. I love its people, its atmosphere, and especially its rich history. Plenty of my artwork and photography has focused fondly on Rochester, and the years of memories I have made here throughout my life.
In this time of turmoil, hopelessness, and controversy, it is my goal that providing the opportunity to revisit some of this artwork can unify our community. My creations, and access to share these artistic works through my online platforms, have the power to be an emotional catalyst through which awareness is raised. We need to remind each other of the beauty, love, and unlimited potential that Rochester has always possessed. We must regain our hope and pride. Our city and its people need all of us to stand together as one.
I may not have all the knowledge or all of the answers on how to fix what must so urgently be repaired. I recognize my privilege in such sensitive situations, and I strive to be a better human, and better ally. I have felt the fear that comes with deciding if, how, and when to speak out against injustice. For those that struggle with that same dilemma, let me tell you this - the answer is always NOW. Our voices together - through whatever abilities we have - are what drive the movement forward towards the positive changes that need to happen.
To see the people of my hometown Rochester, New York in so much agony breaks my heart.
Our nation is full of corruption and injustice, and it is ignorance and privilege that allows anyone to keep their head turned away from it all, especially as it all unfolds right in front of us.
When peaceful protesters speaking out against the horrors and unlawful deaths of the innocent are met with violence, it begets more terror and violence. When those voices scream in rightful anger at racial and social-economic inequalities, and they are silenced, it is a perpetual cycle of trauma and distrust - especially of those in positions of power.
Those who are more concerned about the inconveniences of the protests and the destruction, rather than the lives and wellbeing of their fellow humans are an immense part of this problem. Those who sit on the sidelines as bystanders without any sense of discomfort or worry - who don’t speak out - are just as guilty as the oppressors.
It is an incredulous imbalance of power; it is a lack of human necessities, resources, and support; it is the deliberate manipulation of the media that further permits the division of citizens and the unjustified loss of life. Indifference, inaction, and unwarranted quarrels allow these inequalities to wound our communities; it gives them permission to continuously fester and worsen.
In times like this, we lose our hope, and our humanity.
Fellow citizens of Rochester, New York - I stand with you.
- Courtney Lee Designs -
(All artwork shown in this post was created by Courtney Lee Designs. Rochester's official logo depicted in the artwork titled "I Stand With Rochester" is copyrighted and trademarked by the City of Rochester. Permission to use this logo for non-commercial use was given to Courtney Lee Designs with gracious thanks to the City of Rochester.)