Be The Change You Seek Mural at Baronne and Philip

Be The Change You Seek Mural at Baronne and FirstThis post really belongs on a blog titled What I Saw Pushing My Bike Around In The Rain Today. As I was leaving this morning to meet S. at the coffee shop in the Marigny I thought to myself, remember to grab the patch kit and pump. Wish I’d heeded that call, because on the way home I popped my front tire at Lee Circle. As I was can-kicking my bike home it started to pour. Late afternoon rainstorms are a pleasant part of summer, but after huddling under a palm tree for twenty minutes, I was over it. I pushed my bike under the eaves of an apartment building On Baronne and Philip and snapped this picture of a mural reading “Be The Change You Seek.” I pass this all the time and find it both lovely and a little bit frustrating. The sentiment is of course a good one. Gandhi was right. We all have some power to make our world more like we want it to be, or at the very least and at the very last moment, refuse to live in the world we are in. At the same time, it isn’t enough for individuals to simply change themselves in order to change the world. We can’t just will ourselves a world without inequality, racism, sexism, and all the other structural forces that inhibit the change we seek. Riding around this city, it is impossible to miss this stuff. How do we balance a sense of personal efficacy and responsibility with a meaningful critique of structures of inequality that are made by people, but sometimes seem impervious to our very critique? I thought about this as I waited for the rain to stop, chatting with T., who came outside to sip a Sunday afternoon beer and tell me about some upcoming second lines he’ll be marching in next month. He also reminded me to bring my patch kit with me next time. Yes, sir. Excellent suggestion.

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