Our Commitment to our Community
- 5 June 2020
- Posted By Ellen Muse-Lindeman
We’ve been asking ourselves what our organization can do to take meaningful action in response to this moment of uprising against racist violence. You may be asking that too.
Like many of you, we are outraged at the senseless killing of George Floyd – and Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless black people before them who have lost their lives in racist acts. The pain and trauma that black people are experiencing every day in our city and across our nation is real.
We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.
Since its founding 16 years ago by local residents, Kennedy Heights Arts Center has striven to be a place where all are welcome, seen and valued. We are proud to be part of an intentionally integrated neighborhood and to engage with a wonderfully diverse community.
Yet, we are all too aware of the multi-hundred year legacy of white supremacy and systemic racism in our country, and how institutions like ours have been complicit in that system of oppression. We have to be willing to do the hard work to put an end to racism, to brutality, to inequities.
We stand firmly opposed to all forms of racism and injustice, and move forward with purpose to create a more equitable future.
These are some of the immediate and longer-term actions we are taking to advance racial justice, both externally with our community and internally with our team.
- We are pausing other projects to make space for discerning our vision and to amplify the voices and messages our community needs to hear, at this critical time.
- We hold space for dialogue, particularly elevating the voices of young people in our community. We are partnering with Elementz and Tellus Zine to host conversations and creative expression with teens about what justice looks like to them–providing a safe space to share their feelings and experiences, expand understanding, and envision actionable steps they and we can take to create change.
- We believe in the powerful role that art can play in affecting social change. We hold space for diverse voices, perspectives and stories through the creation and presentation of art. In the near future, we are collaborating with Art Beyond Boundaries to host an exhibition of work by African American artists speaking out against injustice. Going forward, we commit to collaborate with more artists of color.
- We pledge our commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and access at all levels of our organization. Kennedy Heights Arts Center is joining with 54 arts and culture organizations across the globe in the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network. In the coming year and beyond, our board and staff will be listening deeply and engaging with diverse community members to carry out the important work of transforming the way we work to be truly of, by and for our community.
We know these actions are a small piece of what is needed. We are equally committed to engaging in this conversation with all of you and finding ways to create more value. We welcome your input, ideas and involvement. If you would like to contribute to any of these initiatives or suggest others, please contact us.
We have hope that, together, we can bring forth much needed tides of change.
President, Board of Directors