Shadow and Light: A Time to Reintroduce “Teach Peace”

On Monday, August 21, hundreds of millions of people looked skyward to watch the rare solar eclipse as it traveled its 70-mile wide path from coast to coast. In those moments, it was as if every creature in the world around me held its breath. From my vantage point during prime viewing time, I looked up at the spectacle with awe. Then I looked at the other people around me…

Everyone was sporting those special eclipse glasses, and for a good reason. What we hear about eye damage during an eclipse is true. The rays of the sun are not to blame for the danger; rather, it’s the darkness against the light that tricks our eyes into a sort of optic confusion: Our eyes focus on the shadow of the moon, tricking our eyes into relaxing their normal protective measures thus receiving more hazardous rays into the neural tissue. Our eyes aren’t used to seeing darkness and light simultaneously.

Just days before the eclipse, Durham faced its own clash of characters. On Friday, August 18, the Sheriff’s Department announced white nationalists were expected to converge at the county courthouse. The people of Durham and surrounding areas turned up en masse to show resistance to hate and bigotry, the rapid response reflecting a long history of anti-oppression organizing in the community. And days before that, our city made national news when a statue of a confederate solider was taken down by protestors, a symbolic act largely motivated by the white nationalists’ rally and ensuing acts of violence that took place the previous weekend in Charlottesville, VA.

I am reposting a blog piece (here, and below) for two reasons: One, the message bears repeating considering the events in recent weeks. Two, the artwork is now available as a letterpress print, and 50% of sales* will be donated to the Durham Solidarity Center, specifically to its bond fund to assist with legal fees faced by those individuals arrested for their civil disobedience in recent Durham protests.

The limited edition letterpress prints were hand-printed by local artisan Brian Allen, who has been practicing the art of letterforms and typography for over forty years. Brian chose to print my artwork in a rich blue ink on 100% cotton “recovered fiber" heavy card stock in Pearl White (a warm off-white).

*Please mention this blog piece in the special instructions section when ordering online. Thanks!

To read Mary's first blog on this piece of art, please see Words are Strong.