Seeking Freedom in Past and Present: NKU Freedom Studies Student Artists

2. First Class / Second Class

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First Class / Second Class

Hans Schellhas

This Triptych was created in direct response to the violation of mine and others’ civil rights during a protest for social change last year. My objective of the piece was to address how the City of Cincinnati and the police department, when having their own political agenda to protect, showed no hesitation in overstepping the basic civil rights granted to every American citizen. Unless present at one of these protests, one cannot begin to understand the gross violation and harassment perpetrated by the police.

A very short time after this piece was made, Timothy Thomas was killed by a Cincinnati police officer. Because of this unfortunate incident, the irresponsibility of the police department, the elected city officials and legal system is finally coming to some examination to the community at large.

Currently, there is a strong movement led by the African–American community to make social change in this city. This movement will not only make positive change for the African American community but improve the way that civil rights are treated for all people in the city. It is grassroots movements such as these that will make long term improvements for the city; as we have seen, change will not genuinely happen from the government. The city has had a year to make changes since the death of Timothy Thomas, yet nothing substantial has happened. The future of the preservation of democracy and constitutional rights is solely in the power of the people. Though this piece was created prior to the death of Timothy Thomas, it is another testimony of the sad state of affairs of our constitutional rights, the irresponsibility of our government officials and that strong change is needed to preserve the American way of life.


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