“The Arts are a Bridge to Courageous Conversations”

By Connie Martinez, SVCREATES’ Chief Executive Officer

Russell Powell, @pangaeanstudios

By now you have seen many statements of outrage over the murder of George Floyd. Add this one to your list.

Our hearts are broken and we stand by our Black and Brown brothers and sisters in refusing to accept the status quo. We are not condoning violence or looting, but the law needs to be applied fairly and justly to everyone. And when “white collar” crimes of greed and power are dismissed or embraced by our leaders in Washington, their voices run hollow.

We have been building towards this moment in history for centuries as we’ve struggled to create “a more perfect union.” We know that George Floyd joins a long list of Black men and women who have died for the crime of being Black. We also know that racism is not new, it needs to end, and enough is enough. What is new is a growing sense of solidarity across all cultures that demand an end to racist policies and behaviors. As President Obama wrote: “We can and must be better.”

Solidarity gives us hope to act upon. At this time, patience is not a virtue, and silence is not golden. In the words of our friend, colleague and artist Chike Nwoffiah, “the arts are a bridge to courageous conversations.” Have those conversations, speak out loudly and clearly, and use the power of the arts to inspire, heal, and drive change. There is nothing as powerful as the arts for challenging our assumptions, building cross-cultural understanding, and bringing joy and learning to our lives.

And as we raise our voices, let’s make sure that voting in November becomes one of our greatest priorities.

In solidarity,

Connie