Meet George: the teen behind the Sunflower.
Idahope arose out of a deep belief that by increasing awareness and connecting people who care with communities and causes in need of support, we can also cultivate hope and create change. The world needs hope, especially now. We have to continue to declare “Black Lives Matter” because there is little actual evidence that those in power believe that they do. We call on all Idahoans to elevate their own awareness, to elevate the voices of Black persons, and to educate themselves on the social, political, and economic injustices that Black folks face while acknowledging and supporting the hope they have for the future.
Inclusive Idaho, one of our partners-in-hope, is bringing awareness and acting with hope by increasing diversity, racial equity, and social inclusion in Idaho. A percentage of proceeds from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) collection will support their work.
We’ve received several inquiries about where the sunflower design on the BLM collection came from and what it represents. So, we thought we’d share the story of a local Idaho teen (and early adopter of the hope movement) who shared the concept with us. We spoke with him this week to learn more about what inspired him to suggest a sunflower and what brings him hope.
George is a local teen, artist, and musician. He plays the bass but is fluent in other instruments as well. His friends would describe him as fun and outgoing; although, George believes himself to be more of an ambivert. And despite being a part of the hope movement, he has a hard time staying hopeful. “It’s hard for me to be hopeful in things being a young, trans, gay, Black man, because of who I am. But I do have hope for things,” he said. His mature tone mirrored the complexity of the words he spoke, “I hope that the color of my skin will not interfere with aspirations and goals for the future. I hope that Black people’s resumes are not cast aside because of their name, and the perceived color of their skin.”
George is a thoughtful, compassionate young person who is angered and outraged by the acts of violence committed against Black folks to perpetuate White supremacy and anti-blackness. Although constantly overwhelming, George chooses not to allow the realities of oppression and discrimination to be the only way he views the Black community. When asked about what sparked his idea about the sunflower, he said:
“Flowers tend to signify love and grief. Flowers are used for celebrating but are also at funerals. The sunflower is different; it’s only ever used to bring joy to the world… Sunflowers are black and beautiful, bringing so much to the world, just like Black people… The yellow petals represent the beauty that Black people bring to the world.”
Besides supporting the work of Idahope, George seeks out ways to act with hope. He recently searched for organizations to help and found one that he thought would make a difference for Black folx. “Yesterday, I started thinking about how I could do more than sign petitions. So, I started selling gently used items and am planning to design and sell shirts and donate the proceeds to the Okra Project, advancing support to Black trans people.”
George’s hope for things to come, hope-in-action orientation, and view of a beautiful and powerful Black identity is what the sunflower represents.
May the image act as a beacon, committing us to deepen our understanding of why the recent deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others are not single, unrelated acts of violence, but part of a complex racist history perpetuated by White supremacy that has embedded racism into the fabric of society, shaping cultural attitudes.
May we also take a moment to learn more about why Juneteenth is an especially important day in the U.S.
And, may we reflect on what we might do today to take anti-racist actions, thereby bringing hope to our communities.
Jenn and Levi
Inclusive Idaho is working to increase diversity, racial equity, and social inclusion in Idaho’s corporate, educational and non-profit spaces through education, policy reform, legislation, training, and community events and forums. Learn more about Inclusive Idaho by visiting Inclusive Idaho.
CITY OF GOOD
City of Good is a collective action network created by Boise businesses and civic organizations to feed those who are isolated or in need in our community – and put people back to work in this effort during our challenging time of the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about City of Good and the work they’re doing at www.cityofgood.com.
BOISE BICYCLE PROJECT
BBP makes transportation, as well as access to the other life-enhancing benefits that bicycling can provide, accessible to adults and children by providing affordable bikes and bike repair. Learn more about the work Boise Bicycle Project is doing, and social services available for the unemployed, those for whom the bike is their only mode of transportation, and other groups by visiting their website at www.boisebicycleproject.org.
TREEFORT COMMUNITY FUND
To provide support to our local live music ecosystem during the COVID-19 crisis, Treefort has started an emergency initiative to offer financial resources to those working in the live music scene here in the Treasure Valley. Including local artists, musicians, audio + lighting engineers, techs, tour managers, production managers and others in the live music industry. Learn more by visiting www.treefortmusicfest.com.