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Notes From The Crew: Thanks To BAO I Know What It Feels Like To Be A Part Of A Community

By Jose Varon for Boston Compass (#126)

August 5, 2020

The hardest part about the Black Lives Matter protests starting during quarantine was figuring out how to contribute the best, so I was overjoyed when I got a call from Sam Potrykus, director of Brain Arts Organization (BAO), to help make signs during a rally. I have been volunteering with BAO since February and as a culinary/visual artist, I'm always looking to help others explore their creativity. We stocked up on art supplies and PPE, went down to the Fields Corner park, set up a table, and gave people a chance to make their own rally signs. It was the first of many chances to have my desire to protest be heard through art. Spending the Fourth of July marching, protesting, and watching so many people come together to fight for human rights was an experience I will cherish forever. I grew up in Boston and am no stranger to its behind-the-scenes racism, so getting a chance to contribute to building a strong community for our future was amazing. Getting to meet so many people from different ethnicities and backgrounds was uplifting and witnessing us all come together to have our voices be heard brings hope back into my life. I’m grateful to BAO for the opportunity to be of service to the community. I was adopted internationally by a single mother so I've often felt as if I was "on the outside looking in." Thanks to BAO I know what it feels like to be a part of a community.

—Jose Varon, @beantownbdbc


Check out all the art and columns from August's Boston Compass at


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