When They First Came for Us. 2019. Hand embroidery with nailhead studs on linen, 28 x 42 in. (71.1 x 106.7 cm)

When they first came for us with their bullets, we didn’t stop moving
even though the bullets moved twice as fast as the sound of our
screams, and even when their heat and speed broke our skin, shattered
our bones, skulls, pierced our hearts, we kept on, even when we saw the
bullets send our bodies flailing through the air like flags, like the
many flags and buildings that went up in place of everything we knew
this land to be before. The bullets were premonitions, ghosts from
dreams of a hard, fast future. The bullets moved on after moving
through us, became the promise of what was to come, the speed and the
killing, the hard, fast lines of borders and buildings. They took
everything and ground it down to dust as fine as gunpowder, they
fired their guns into the air in victory and the strays flew out into
the nothingness of histories written wrong and meant to be forgotten.
Stray bullets and consequences are landing on our unsuspecting
bodies even now.

Tommy Orange, “THERE THERE”