The importance of the organizational solidarity statement, particularly in the arts.
We’ve seen a lot of signs recently — they’re everywhere, and both literal and symbolic. But one has taken precedence, and it is taking shape in windows, on websites, social media pages, in printed materials and on anything that will stand still. With the world taking sides on Black Lives Matter and speaking up for those who have been killed, hurt, mistreated, overlooked or simply ignored, BlackoutTuesday has made an impact far beyond a single day. Hundreds of organizations, including this one, have stated their public support for the recent protests and calls for law enforcement reform, at the very least, and more often for a sea change in the way the US addresses all issues of race.
Arts organizations, as well as businesses, corporations, all sorts of nonprofits and other entities, have been encouraged across the country to take a public stand by making a “solidarity statement” on Black Lives Matter and the issues surrounding it. Many orgs have already put out their statement, but if yours hasn’t, it may be time to consider why not. This is a moment when knowing who is willing to be vocal and stand up for positive change is important, as it will take massive and ongoing collaborative effort to rebalance the nation.
Lauri’s List’s statement is here. We’ll be honest: No statement is perfect, and your statement, like ours, might get some criticism. But you’re more likely to alienate your audience if you say and/or do nothing. The current firestorm is complicated, but necessary. Do not let fear of getting it “wrong” keep you from joining the ranks of those who are willing to speak up and fight for equality, diversity, inclusion and justice. These are not just buzzwords. They are the real elements that make this nation great. Now more than ever, we need to hear them, over and over, until they manifest into a brighter and more equitable future. Make your statement thoughtful and genuine. Give voice to the changes you want to be and see. And then do everything you can to live and work up to it. Together, we’ll get there.