Dear Friends of Arts at the Armory,
We will skip this month’s newsletter in order to focus on voicing our solidarity with all those demanding justice and an end to racism in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others in the long history of harassment and murder of black people by police. The only item specific to the Armory that we would like to share is to thank all those who participated in our “Saturday at the Armory” Instagram live stream that took place on May 30th. This event reflected the diversity of our community and represents the kind of inclusive programming that we are proud to host at the Armory. We are even more firmly committed to our mission and to hosting, promoting and amplifying diverse voices, as we also look deeper and think about what programming we can do to further highlight black artists and cultural/community organizers.
At Arts at the Armory, we are reflecting on racial injustice both internally within our own organization and externally throughout the communities we serve. Reflection is not enough. We must act. In that spirit, Will Mbah, Somerville City Councilor, has been invited to speak virtually with our staff, Board and volunteers as we determine what specific actions we, as the Arts at the Armory community, can do to combat racial injustice and police brutality. This involves a commitment to look closely at ourselves and our institutional practices, and dedicating time and resources to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Your input is encouraged and most welcome.
There are many resources available that focus on ways in which we can collectively begin to dismantle structural racism–I especially encourage our white community to seek out these resources. I can share resources from two organizations that I have personally been involved with. Wee the People is a Boston-based social justice project for kids, parents and educators exploring activism, equity and resistance through interactive workshops. Community Change Inc. promotes racial justice and equity by challenging systemic racism and acting as a catalyst for anti-racist learning and action, and offers a comprehensive resource center.
As we continue to live with a pandemic that has disproportionately affected black and brown communities due to the long history of systemic racism in this country, it is far overdue that we acknowledge that racism and police brutality are public health emergencies that existed long before COVID-19. Let’s create change together.