My American Dream: Heroes and Villain
Emma González, March For Our Lives, 2018 Oil on linen 20 × 36 inches
Emma González, March For Our Lives, 2018
Oil on linen 20 × 36 inches

Emma González young queer Latinix activist and is a survivor of the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shootings, one of the co-founders for the Never Again MSD gun control advocacy group. She and her cohort survivors created the group out of the pathos those horrible shootings, which have become rampant in our NRA influenced terror of the widespread killings that have become manifest in today’s America. Speaking truth to power, she and her friends have been courageous models for the youth and all Americans to not accept subjugation and the profit over people ideology inherent in today’s administration, and now have devoted much for striving to achieve sane gun laws to “never again” have the tragedy of the murder of their fallen friends and evil of a capitalism and ideology that is seemingly out of control. Before, in another famous speech and actions, she coined the phrase “We Call B.S.!” and intensely confronted the leaders of the NRA. This image is from her now famous speech she gave at the March for Our Lives demonstration on March 24 2018 in Washington that they helped to organize that was attended my thousands. In her speech, she lovingly declared the names of her fallen17 friends, how they “never again” can enjoy the aspects of life she wittingly gives to these individuals. She then mysteriously falls silent, holding back tears as she definitely looks at the audience, who wonder what may be going on, but also giving all the loaded quiet moments to reflect upon the murdered young people she mentions, and all that she and the others are there to protest. Her cell phone alarm then goes off, and she mentions that since she has come onto the stage, in that 6 minutes and 20 seconds, that it was all it took for the killer to enter into the school and forever tragically end the lives of these teens, and forever change those who survived. It is up to all of us to help bring sanity to our nation, but it is especially heartening to see these incredible young people, many from diverse POC, LGBTQ backgrounds, all of them invigorated and smart, that represent what can come for now and our future, making change happen when many adults may feel disillusioned and hopeless. As a professor, my students give me hope, and these folks I feel confident will be the leaders, and inspire more future leaders, as the pendulum may swing from the far right to the far left, to make America a better place for all. I painted this on treated raw linen as I felt the rawness seemed right for the moment, her youth almost becoming like a more animated avatar in her likeness, as subconsciously I felt perhaps both her innocence and her experience coming together in her defiant optimism to bring the power of change to our world. In her close-up, she looks almost like Joan of Arc in the sublime Passion of Joan of Arc movie by Carl Dreyer, but I hope to bring a sense of realness and to document in a painting what already is, for her, one of the most moving and public political performances of our time.