V127: The Thought Leaders Issue With Kimberly Drew

The writer and curator talks about patriotic duty, cultural shifts, and living in proximity to Black Death.

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“I will be voting because it is my patriotic duty. I wish I had a more creative answer. But I think on a very base level, the right to vote is a part of [your] civic duty. If you’re feeling disenchanted with voting, it’s important to not allow that disenchantment to disengage or disarm you. It’s my hope that anyone who feels disenchanted can find enchantment in finding their space. Beyond that, look for as many ways as you can to get engaged. What politicians do is one thing, but the policy work that’s done also really matters. Voting is a valuable way to participate in our political process, which makes so many decisions about our bodies and our lives.

“What makes this year unique is the reporting—because [racist] violence is not new. The volume of Black trans women that are murdered is not new. The ways in which so many are disenfranchised is not new. But our ability to be more aware is increasing. We’re seeing a cultural shift happen, both from a statistical standpoint and also in the sense of how we’re building those narratives.

Kimberly wears dress Simone Rocha, earrings Cartier

“Right now I feel inspired by Ceyenne Doroshow of [grassroots LGBTQIA+ organization] G.L.I.T.S., and Dr. Sarah Lewis; she’s like my big sister. She’s been able to look at larger structural systems through an art lens, and how those systems affect the work and our humanity.

“I don’t see breathing as being very different from writing. I don’t see waking up in the morning as being very different from writing. Whether I’m eating a burrito or writing a paper, all these things happen in a society in which I live in constant fear of violence. And I live in a consistent proximity to Black death. There’s never an ‘on or off’ switch.

“In moments of crisis, of change, and of imagination, it’s so important to pay attention to the visual shifts. We all have the opportunity and the agency to be witnesses. What’s most valuable to me and my work is empowering others to be witnesses as well. The visual language is shifting, absolutely. Let’s all watch together.”


Discover More