The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance stands in solidarity with our Black friends, family, and colleagues during this time of great grief and anger. We honor and pledge to remember the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmed Aubrey, and Nina Pop. These deaths occurred at the hands of the very people we trust to protect and serve every member of our community.
It is past time for us as White people to speak out against the injustice and terrorism perpetrated against Black people through structural racism; which permeates every aspect of this country. It is our responsibility to be actively anti-racist by mobilizing our resources (financial resources, social connections, etc.) to create systemic change.I say this with the admission that I am far from perfect.
Here are some of the things we can do. We can examine how we, knowingly or unknowingly, perpetuate bias, and systems of exclusion and exploitation. We can get better educated and be humble. While we may believe ourselves to be good people, we are still products of our environment and American society, both of which encourage racism and reflexive racist responses. Let’s get to work and do the research that will help create an America that is safe for all citizens. Looking for resources? The National Museum of African American History and Culture has just launched a portal, “Talking About Race,” that provides a great starting point.
Together, let’s read-read-read. Take workshops, listen to podcasts, and challenge ourselves to empathize with the everyday concerns of millions of Black Americans. Don’t live in a White bubble. Have a thick skin, don’t be fragile or defensive, and listen deeply. That’s the least of what is required of us.
While you are at it, keep in mind this work is yours, not something that your Black friends or colleagues should be asked to teach you. If you have a good heart, you have a good start. Now we must do the work. So be true to yourself and to your word by not being silent in the face of racism and injustice, especially when it makes you uncomfortable.
As we learn, because we all have space to continue to grow, apply what you are learning to your work environment. Invest your time in learning and adopting practices that are anti-racist. Work to create a truly inclusive organizational culture. It is not only the right thing to do, but if we successfully attract, hire, manage, and retain a diverse workforce, and if we are inclusive, our organizations will be stronger. Let’s take time to challenge ourselves, to listen, slow down, and analyze our beliefs.
Although GBCA respect’s the observation of Blackout Tuesday, we have chosen to send this message today to explain exactly why we can not proceed with business as usual. Today is Election Day, a day when we all exercise our right to choose our leadership. Yes, we must use the arts and humanities to reflect these times, but it is also our responsibility to mobilize however we can in support of Black people. And we can start by exercising our rights as citizens. VOTE.
Be well and speak up,