The following letter was sent out to the Roundtable mailing list on Monday, June 1, 2020. To stay up to date with weekly e-blasts about advocacy efforts, best practices, current trends, upcoming events, and more, please subscribe to the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable mailing list.
Dear Arts Education Community,
We stand in solidarity with our Black friends, artists, students, and colleagues – today and everyday. Our hearts are heavy with grief over the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and the many deaths that came before. At this intersection of deep sadness and reflection, we recognize the essential need to lift our spirits with strength and mobility toward justice.
The New York City Arts in Education Roundtable is committed to equity, inclusion, and justice. We acknowledge our complicity in the long history of systemic racism within our country and the institutions of power in our city. We will continue to work to dismantle white supremacy within our organizations, schools, and communities. Our work here is just beginning, but we know that this has been a fight for centuries. The Roundtable has been using this set of Equity and Inclusion Values as guiding principles for our work. This working document also includes the “Key Results” we commit to accomplishing by the end of 2020. We are sharing here as a tool that might be helpful to other organizations.
The Arts are integral to collective healing and help to amplify the stories and lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQ comminuties, who have been marginalized by the systematic injustice in our country. As arts educators serving communities of color, we need to continually work towards the liberation of our students. Here are some resources to support your practice:
- Museum Educator Roundtable’s Recent Response and List of Action Items (http://www.museumedu.org/mer-responds/)
- NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s 2020 Day of Learning on Equity and Inclusion Resource Page (https://bit.ly/2XkDWVO)
- NYC Arts in Education Roundtable’s 2019 Day of Learning on Equity and Inclusion Resource Page (https://bit.ly/2yXO8dy)
For our white and non-Black POC colleagues, we urge you to take action to dismantle the oppression faced daily by the many artists, students, and colleagues we call friends:
- Listen more; talk less.
- Educate yourself about the long standing history of oppression to understand the lived experiences of the Black community. Here is a list of some resources to get you started.
- Read “26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Street”, co-authored by Roundtable Board Member, Piper Anderson in 2014, which is unfortunately still very relevant today. (https://issuu.com/nlc.sf.2014/docs/beyondthestreets_final)
- Urge your organizations to use their social media platforms to share support of justice for communities who have been oppressed. If you need examples, check out recent communications sent by our friends at The Billie Holiday Theatre, A.R.T./New York, and Dance/NYC.
- Advocate to elected officials for equitable opportunities for artists and students of color.
If you’re able, please join us in learning from and donating to the following organizations who are working towards racial justice:
- Black Visions Collective: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
- Campaign Zero: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
- Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/
- Color of Change Petition for George Floyd: https://bit.ly/2Xl1jP1
- NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: https://www.naacpldf.org/
- The Bail Project: https://bailproject.org/
- Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
The Roundtable acknowledges the massive mourning and resistance that continues because of the destructive acts of white supremacy. As noted earlier in this email, today (6/1) at 5pm, we will hold space for communal care and support for Black arts educators and accomplices who desire to work towards systemic change. To register for this event, please visit: https://bit.ly/nycaier61.
Sobha Kavanakudiyil, Board Co-Chair
Jennifer DiBella, Board Co-Chair
Gary Padmore, Board Vice Chair & Co-Chair, NYCAIER Taskforce on Equity and Inclusion
Piper Anderson, Co-Chair, NYCAIER Taskforce on Equity and Inclusion
Kimberly Olsen, Managing Director
NYC Arts in Education Roundtable