Dear Friends and Community,
Deep racial lines have been sewn in the fabric of our country and its systems for far too long. Black people have lived in America, day to day, generation to generation under the shadow, and too often brutal reality, of racism and oppression. Many of us stand stunned, hearts broken, at simply trying to comprehend the suffering and injustice that is dealt daily to our communities of color. Our anger rises as we witness this broken system continue to feed itself on hate and division, frustration mounting at our continued complicity. While white folks (including the leadership group of this organization) may feel strongly right now, it is nothing compared to what people of color endure daily. The ongoing trauma to communities of color is devastating.
We say love, music, and art will see us through, but the simple truth is, we, as an organization, as artists, as a community, would not be here today if it weren’t for the forced migration of black folk from Africa to this country and that cultural spirit that continues to rise even in the face of lifetimes of oppression. From the drums of Africa to the drums deep in the southern forests of the U.S., the music, the heartbeat that weaves through us all in the community of the dance, has its roots in black culture.
So this is a call to action. FUCK RACISM. BLACK LIVES MATTER.
If you are white, and you feel at a loss, it’s past time to educate yourself, and don’t ask your one black friend to help you. DO THE WORK. There are a ton of resources out there, like this: Anti-Racism Resources. Make an effort to connect with more people of color. Examine the social spaces you occupy, and find ways to branch out. Ally yourself, and be in service. Let folks of color LEAD. Talk to your white friends, and de-center whiteness in your everyday behavior. Recognize your white privilege, and do the work to dismantle white supremacy. We know it’s hard to take, but this terrifying reality is a reflection of us as white folks and the lack of real progress we have made over the years undoing racism in our country.
For folks of color, we are here, we are listening. We are looking into ways to effectively share our resources and help facilitate a forum for expression and artistry in these challenging times. We are open to diversifying leadership; too much whiteness is definitely an issue in our organization. Reach out if you are interested. We resist prescribing solutions and are open to the work that emerges from our diverse community.
Here are other ways you can make a difference that embraces and activates a heart of compassion that can no longer stand for this, or check this: 11 Things to Do Besides Say “This Has to Stop” in the Wake of Police Brutality
PROTEST. Join those who (like you) care, and march, chant and make your voice heard in solidarity!
LISTEN. Reach out to your friends of color, ask them what they need, how they feel, then LISTEN. Make more friends of color.
SUPPORT. Many non profit groups are working tirelessly to represent folks in these trying times. The NAACP, the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and many other organizations literally operate on the financial support of individuals that believe in their cause. There is a list at the bottom of this post (with links) of organizations that need our support. Support black businesses in the community as well.
CALL OUT INJUSTICE, RACISM, AND WHITE SUPREMACY CULTURE. On Social Media, at work, at school, at play, in our homes, everywhere.
VOTE - Local, state, national elections matter. Get involved at the local level. Understand vehicles of public feedback into public policy. Check out how your local policing is governed.
CENSUS - Complete the 2020 census. This comes around every 10 years and is the basis for decisions such as how many representatives are representing you in Congress as well as federal funding decisions such as funding for public schools.
As an organization, we are still learning, yet, we are trying and won’t stop, EVER in our work towards a just society where love, art, and music is everything. From our hearts to yours, we are sending out a huge hug to our community. We stand in solidarity. In the heartbeat. BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Humbly and with love and respect,
~Cascadia NW Arts & Music Festival