WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Common Cause announced Camila Tapia-Guilliams, 24, of Washington, D.C., as a first-place winner in the 2021 Artivism Contest.
The competition was designed by the Common Cause Student Action Alliance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Common Cause and the passage of the In the organization’s first-ever virtual competition bridging art with activism, youth nationwide were invited to submit art that expressed their perspectives on key democracy issues.
“Our democracy is strongest when everyone has a voice, regardless of age, zip code, or income,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The 2021 Artivism winners represent the creativity of the next generation that’s working to build a more vibrant and inclusive democracy. Common Cause will continue working with youth advocates to champion the changes needed to ensure young people can have a say in the decisions impacting their futures.”
The Artivism Contest invited youth ages 14-28 to raise their voices on any set of nine democracy issues, including access to voting, campaign finance reform, fighting against gerrymandering, and more. Contest winners’ art will be featured in the Common Cause Shop on select apparel and merchandise. Winners also receive cash prizes, with $1,500 for first place, $800 for second place, and $600 for third place.
“While the media has shifted attention away from the Black Lives Matter movement, the problems that incited the protests are still there, unaddressed by our government,” Tapia-Guilliams said. “Namely, the systemic racism in our injustice system means that no matter who you are, if you are black, you are in danger of police brutality and harsher punitive sentences than white people. If we do not approach criminal justice as a matter of racial justice, then we will not be able to build new structures of transformative justice that uplift true democracy, accountability, and equality.”
Tapia-Guilliams submitted a drawing of Black Lady Justice figure being handcuffed by a white policeman. The image is overlayed with the words “Mass Incarceration Destroys Democracy.” Their winning art is part of the Criminal Justice Reform & Mass Incarceration category and was one of three winners in the 24–28-year-old age group. Tapia-Guilliams is one of seven winners representing seven cities from California to Washington, D.C. Submissions were due September 30 and voting, open to all, took place every day from October 1 through November 2.
“We thank everyone who participated for bringing their unique perspectives and creativity to the 2021 Artivism Contest,” said Alyssa Canty, director of youth programs at Common Cause. “We look forward to working with the winners to showcase their art and help inspire more youth to make their voices heard for a democracy that is inclusive of every voice.”
To see the full list of 2021 Artivism Contest Winners and their artwork, click here.
To shop apparel and merchandise featuring the 2021 Artivism Contest Winners, click here.