“There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail
Vashon Center for the Arts’ staff and board of trustees stand united with our country in horror at the cruel and senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many people of color before them. Our country and our world are diminished from their loss. We at VCA add our voices to the protesters demanding change across our nation.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr wrote the above words in 1963, 57 years ago. Black Lives Matter, and it is long past time that our institutions, laws, policies, and actions reflected that.
Let this moment be a reckoning for us to see our own responsibility in repairing and rebuilding our collective history of oppression, injustice, and violence that has destroyed the lives of so many Black Americans. Wherever we as individuals stand along the journey to ending racism, we must identify the next step and persevere forward, each and every one of us.
The arts are a catalyst for growth and change. VCA hears the call to action to use our position as a leader in our community to support and amplify the voices of the oppressed and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). We are committed to moving forward in our efforts to truly embody an anti-racist agenda. To this end we pledge to:
- Look for ways we can gain insight into racism and embody an ant-racist agenda.
- Pursue, promote and amplify the voices of Black artists and those artists who have been historically marginalized or excluded.
- Enhance our programming to provide greater opportunities for people of color to share their experiences, speak their knowledge, and inform our community.
- Re-examine our hiring practices and ensure they reflect our values in participation and inclusion in our board, staff, audience and programming.
- Prioritize racial equity and diversity training for our staff, board and program instructors to dismantle institutional racism and inequality.
- Forge new partnerships with people of color, BIPOC communities and organizations to foster common ground and build trust.
As an organization and as individuals we are doing our best to make sense of what is transpiring in our country and looking for insight into what we can do better. We offer the following list of resources that are aiding us in this endeavor, and to share with our community. Let us all stand united in our fight against injustice.
The VCA staff and board
Anti-racism resources for white people
A Conversation with Brene Brown and Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist:
10 Things White People Can Do to Work for Racial Justice
When They See Us Study Guide
Organizations to Support:
Black Lives Matter
Color of Change
Campaign Zero works to adopt data-driven solutions to end police brutality:
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
Communities United Against Police Brutality
Equal Rights Washington
Black Voters Matter
Seattle Indivisible Daily Actions
Black Out Day 2020 – July 7: Participate, spread the word, help organize locally