About Harriet

Harriet Showman lives in South Carolina, U.S., a culture hurt deep by the wounds of slavery and racism. While the dynamic of guilt can be specific to geography, imperceptible demons exist within most humans. Individuals and groups often invent “the Other” to be scapegoats for perceived injustices. Something, somebody, or some catastrophic, historic event can instill a trauma deep within a person and prevent them from living with full-out passion.

Showman began her quest to understand the legacy bequeathed to her by slave-owning ancestors through her undergraduate and graduate study of colonial South Carolina history. It was then that the endemic poverty of her home state captured her attention. With a strong core of allies, she helped to establish a statewide Guardian ad Litem program to provide legal support for abused children; a Cities in Schools organization to serve underprivileged students; and a vehicle for the accumulation of monies to be distributed in grants through the Children’s Trust Fund. As a development officer for the state’s flagship university, Showman attracted resources from major, national foundations to target South Carolina’s most urgent needs.

By creating the narrative of sixteen-year-old Gregg Davis, along with provocative artwork, Showman finds the courage to once again become an advocate for children who experience personal and societal bullying. Through invisible-i-am, she hopes to contribute to the conversation about tough stuff. She does not restrain Gregg: the girl says what she means and means what she says. Showman also expresses a victim’s rage by using vivid nail polish in drawings and enhancing photographs for maximum impact. The ultimate message is that when pain overwhelms us, we can transform ourselves and choose freedom over revenge. This is not easy work to undergo, but it addresses a vital issue for the 21st century.

Dylan Roof, grandson of a respected attorney in Harriet Showman’s home city of Columbia, murdered nine people at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. To repeat: someone from her community slaughtered innocents in her community. This tragedy intensifies the urgency in the theme of invisible-i-am.

Caring adults can use the multimedia invisible-i-am presentation with students to help them visualize wounded ears swollen and stretched from hearing too much abuse, eyes frozen open by unending nightmares, and mouths slammed shut with an X – a symbol of fear preventing the spirit from screaming. Showman’s hope for the future is simple: that we all can learn to perceive and empathize with another’s struggle to be acknowledged as worthy of love. This survival-of-the-fittest world needs a responsible citizenship that comprehends the importance of altruism.

Gregg’s story continues with live feeds on Twitter (https://twitter.com/iaminvisibleiam), Tumblr (http://iaminvisibleiam.tumblr.com), and YouTube as well as in ongoing drawings, photographs, and books available on the website.