Melanie Cervantes - Purposeful

Bio: Melanie Cervantes is a Xicana graphic artist who creates images that reflect the hopes and dreams of social movements and catalyze people to action. 

Melanie’s work includes black and white illustrations, paintings, installations and paper stencils, but she is best known for her prolific production of political screen prints and posters.  Employing vibrant colors and hand-drawn illustrations, her work moves those viewed as marginal to the center – featuring powerful youth, elders, women, queer and indigenous peoples.

“Calling myself an artist is a political decision I make to carve out space, to elevate my feelings and views on what is happening in the world. It allows me to have a conversation with my community through a visual language that predates written communication. The process helps create a space to build community and share ideas and visions with the world.” - Interview with Third Woman Press

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Image credit: Melanie Cervantes

Can’t wait to print these.
In 1968, Fred Hampton founded and led the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party; he was 20 years old. He was known to all as a charismatic, committed leader who cared about his community. He was a tireless developer of community service programs. Hampton had become too important, too influential, too outspoken within Chicago - he became a threat to the establishment. It was on December 4, 1969 while everyone was asleep at party headquarters, that Hampton was murdered in a police raid that also killed Mark Clark; Hampton was 21 years old. [h/t]

Las Brown Berets, Melanie Cervantes, 20 x 26 , 3 - Color, Hand made Screenprint, Mohawk Archival Paper, Printed in Oakland, 2012

Two generations (1990s/Ruth Alejo and 2000s) of Ch/Xicana members of the Watsonville Brown Berets are depicted in this portrait as well as a central portrait of Hilda Reyes a member of the East L.A. chapter of the Berets (early 1970s). I created this piece because the leadership and contribution women make to radical organizations and movements is often eclipsed by male figures. This piece honors these amazing women.

The Brown Berets are a barrio defense committee that emerged in the late 1960s. The Brown Berets focus on community organizing against police brutality and advocate for educational equity. The Brown Berets organized the National Chicano Moratorium in which close to 20,000 Chicanos marched and protested the high casualty rate of Chicanos in Vietnam and the military draft. This peaceful protest became chaotic when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department decided to end the event by attacking attendees. Four Chicano activists were killed (two of them Brown Berets), Gustav Montag, Lyn Ward, José Diaz including journalist Rubén Salazar. #dignidadrebelde #melaniecervantes #brownberets #xicanaart #xicana #chicanaart #chicana #chicanapower #xicanapower

I believe girls and women everywhere deserve to be protected and given equal opportunity. Like if you agree and ‪#‎chimein‬

Today is International Women’s Day, and I just want to remind every woman that when we join forces, empower one another and work together we have the ability to accomplish great things including eradicating human trafficking. No matter the color of our skin, the language we speak or our economic status, every woman should share a sense of responsibility for ourselves as well as for one another. Let’s continue to learn to improve relations amongst one another so that we may be a formidable force in creating equality and justice for ourselves and every living being on this planet. 

Jada Pinkett Smith

Research As Ceremony: Decolonizing Ethnic Studies Conference- the 42nd annual National Ethnic Studies Conference this April3-5 at Mills College in Oakland. I was commissioned to create the graphics for the conference. It was an honor! I am also presenting on two panels at the conference. #dignidadrebelde #ethnicstudies #decolonize #melaniecervantes #millscollege

By @melaniecervantes “Only $75 for 4 prints! Visit
(Retails at $135)
These are test proofs that have a little smudge on the margin or something in the image that needed to be curated (fixed) or a bent corner, overall they look pretty good for a deeply discounted price. We only have a very limited number of proofs available so we encourage you to purchase them as soon as possible. These make great great holiday gifts. #melaniecervantes #dignidadrebelde #jesusbarraza” via @PhotoRepost_app

#Repost @jessicasabogal
“Our existence will no longer be silenced. We require no explanations, apologies or approval.” Thank you @decolonizingstreetart for giving me the space and support to go toward the fear. To our bamf dream team @chatperdu @0megapixls @melaniecervantes @zola_mtl @sw_rm @littlesalmonwoman @maxime.faure @tonic_whine, this mural is dedicated to YOU. Special shout out to @ishouldbepainting, my right hand woman every moment of this experience. #qwoc #queer #lesbian #mural #streetart #stencil


Must follow @melaniecervantes to be eligible to win contest

#CorazonDePanDulce #melaniecervantes


4. When you upload your photo on Instagram make sure your profile is set to public before uploading, otherwise we won’t be able to see your entry.

#Repost from my boo @melaniecervantes —Third and final install of the week. This piece is at the entrance of a street called Avenue Coloniale (Colonial Avenue- the first one was on ChristopherColumbus St. I kid you not) you can’t make that up! We mixed in a piece by Lianne Charlie (Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation) and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde (Kahnawake) which reads Tiotia:ke the Mohawk name for “Montreal” which means where the currents meet. I am also repping Jesus Barraza’s Tierra Indigena in this wheat paste mural. #decolonizingstreetart #DSA2015 #aXicanainMohawkTerritory #indigenousartists #streetart #DignidadRebelde

Things are moving along well at the Anti-Colonial Street Art Convergence. Everything is about public art work and relationships. We work best as a team. This is a collaborative wall with @littlesalmonwoman and @sw_rm as well as a whole team of amazing human beings with many talents and huge hearts. I am incredibly honored to be here in Tiotai:ke as a visitor in Mohawk territory. #uncededvoices #DSA2015 #decolonizingstreetart #aXicanainMohawkTerritory by melaniecervantes

Earlier his month was blown away at this amazing photo. I drew the solidarity poster, on the left, three years ago to express my solidarity with the revolutionary spirit of folks in Egypt and Tunisia. I am so happy to see it reach the streets of Cairo as appropriated street art. The ongoing struggle for change in Egypt requires continued struggle and vigilance. #dignidadrebelde #melaniecervantes #egypt #arabspring #arabrevolution#solidarity #streetart #stencil #keizer

I’ve got a stack of these for all my local community organizer homies. There will also be a limited few available on our website this Friday.
Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton, Illinois Chapter Black Panther Party, August 30, 1948-December 4,1969, Serve the People, Body and Soul

This quote is part of a much linger speech at Olivet Church in 1969. Here is a bit of it “We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism.

We ain’t gonna fight no reactionary pigs who run up and down the street being reactionary; we’re gonna organize and dedicate ourselves to revolutionary political power and teach ourselves the specific needs of resisting the power structure, arm ourselves, and we’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION. That’s what it has to be. The people have to have the power: it belongs to the people. ” #screenprint #screenprinting #art #revolutionaryart #dignidadrebelde #melaniecervantes #blackpantherparty #fredhampton