In Memoriam Remembering Tim Rollins
Robert Branch, Ed.M
People often ask me about the mechanics of being in an art collective as unique as K.O.S. and the rationale behind the project. But rarely do people ask me why Tim did this work. On any occasion when I would ask Tim, “Why do you do this?” he would say, “It’s because I can and because it brings me great joy to do this.” I had the honor of calling the joyful and ever-caring Tim Rollins a collaborator, mentor, and close friend for over twenty four years.
When I met Tim I was a Bronx teen languishing in a NYC public high school. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and I was ready to drop out of school. Instead, thanks to my participation in K.O.S., I learned how to seek knowledge and advance my education and become the first person in my immigrant family to complete college and attain a graduate school degree. I have always been grateful to Tim for the energy and time he invested in me. But, it was not until I found myself in graduate school at Teachers College at Columbia University, reading the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Maxine Greene that I truly understood the staggering effort and imagination it took on Tim’s part for me to reach those heights and walk the halls of Columbia.