Billboard reading "Your Artwork Here"
Billboard reading "Your Artwork Here"

XQ + FOR FREEDOMS BILLBOARD CHALLENGE

Olivia
Wood

This piece started with just a mechanical pencil and a sheet of printer paper on a rainy day in art class. Nearly a year later, my school art teacher told me about a billboard contest for young artists and activists that’s asking the question, “What are your hopes for the future of education?”

The first time I heard the phrase “anti-racism” in a classroom was last year. This topic led to some of the most academic, engaging, thought-provoking discussions I’ve ever been a part of. My English teacher had used classic literature—such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—to teach us about a racist history and a racist present all at once.

If children of color have to live it, then white children can learn it. If children of color have to hear that slur on the street, or on the internet, or in a classroom, then white children can learn the history and generational trauma behind it.

That’s not asking white children to feel guilty, it's teaching them that not everyone has the privilege they have. It’s not asking for shame, it’s asking for acknowledgement and perspective. And, hopefully, it’s simultaneously encouraging children to help others who aren’t as fortunate—and who could argue with that?

All in all, I designed this billboard based on the hope that, someday, children of color sitting in school might hear their story told.