George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery.
Their lives, and so many others, cut short. Their lives mattered. Their lives continue to matter.
Black lives matter.
In the Dayton arts community, we take pride in the legacies of Paul Laurence Dunbar, who became one of the first internationally known Black poets, and Jeraldyne Blunden, who founded Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, a world-renowned organization rooted in African American experience. But if we wish to claim these artists’ achievements, we must also be willing to claim the history of what they had to overcome in order to achieve. Segregation. Discriminatory hiring practices. Doors closed to Black artists.
To honor their enduring legacies, we must be willing to acknowledge and combat the horrifying, enduring legacy of systemic racism.
John Crawford III. Tamir Rice.
The Culture Works staff has struggled with what to say in the face of such horrific violence and such unfathomable pain. But we know that when a loved one is in mourning, every unspoken sentiment from those proclaiming to be friends is another assault on the wound. So, to the Black community: We grieve with you, we acknowledge your pain, and we know that this is not enough.
We are committed to developing a deeper understanding of systemic racism so that we can serve as agents of change in the fight against racial inequity and injustice.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community.
We believe that Black lives matter.
To anyone who would like to join us in our journey of continued learning, we have found the following resources helpful:
List of Nonprofit Governance Resources Regarding Social Justice and Equity, by OhioDance President Rodney Veal
An Antiracist Reading List, by Ibram X. Kendi
Anti-Racism Resources, by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
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