Vivian was a little girl from Charlottesville, Virginia who passed away in 1932 at eight years old. Five years before she passed away, Vivian’s mother, Carrie, was the center of a famous Supreme Court case known as Buck v. Bell. In their decision, the Supreme Court decided that it was acceptable for the state of Virginia to sentence Carrie to compulsory steriliza- tion, since both she and her daughter were “feeble- minded”. The Supreme Court in essence said that Vivian’s existence was a burden on society and the world would be a better place without her. This decision was based on an examination of Vivian when she was seven months old.
I have a daughter of my own, Marlena. When I look at her, I see innocence and boundless potential. It is unimaginable to me that someone was able to look at Vivian and not see what I see in my daughter. Marlena and I made this piece for Vivian. It is about innocence and potential.