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

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 @melaniecervantes with @repostapp.
Sneak preview of my design for @strongfams 2015 Mama’s Day card. Strong Families celebrates Mama’s Day by highlighting the real lives and experiences of the mamas in our lives.
This year I decided to create a portrait of my friend Anayvette and her children Lupita and Diego. Lupita is a #RadicalBrownie and Diego enjoys playing soccer. They are both danzantes.
Anayvette is the co-founder of @radicalbrownies. If you haven’t heard The Radical Brownies empower young girls of color to step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership to make the world a more radical place.

It was awesome to do this project because Anayvette and I have known each other for about 12 years. I was part of a collective of poets and artists called ENDependence. They were the first collective of artists who believed in me…the first group that gave me space and allowed me to tour with them to show my art.

Anayvette’s fierce radical queer mamahood inspires me! #mamasday #strongfams #radicalbrownies #dignidadrebelde #igetitfromymama #activism #activistart #artivism #artivist #art4 #art4change #humanrights #latism #politicalart #racialjustice #socialjustice


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.

Special shout out to @justseeds artists’ cooperative for donating prints from their archive to this year’s @youngnewyorkers benefit - like this piece by the wonderful @melaniecervantes titled “Migration is a Human Right” • extra extra special shout out to @jessxchen, another donating artist, for making this happen ❤️ (at

"Trataron de enterrarnos. No sabían que éramos semillas." Gracias @melaniecervantes por la postcard. I will display it proudly!

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