June 10, 2020
How does an organization like Golden Artist Colors, in a rural community in the middle of New York State, respond to the call for equity, justice, and fairness so effectively made in the last several weeks in our country?
We have supported various organizations that are doing the hard work by creating opportunities for People of Color in the arts. But this work truly has been at the edges. We have not, as yet, created a specific plan in our corporate strategies to address systemic inequality and racism at their core.
But we have watched our fellow citizens as they march. We want to share how much these protests have affected us, how much they have, in essence, worked. We are moved. We see you. We hear you. And we have been forced to reckon with, however uncomfortably, the stark truth that we don’t have to go very far to find the perpetrators of systemic inequality, as they are us. Not because of our action, but from our inaction.
To address our inaction, we will work inside our own doors to understand how we can stop being complicit with our silence. How we can support those in the short term with our resources—funds, paint, time, our public platforms—already doing the hard work. We will work to advance diversity within GOLDEN and in organizations we are allied with. And we will begin the much harder work within our company of facing our own racial biases, our own white privilege.
Lisa Funderburke Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, whom I so greatly respect and admire had this to say:
“If you truly want to be an ally. If you want to be in unbreakable solidarity with those fighting on behalf of justice and freedom for all. If you want the killing to stop, you have to dialogue with the perpetrators of injustice. This is where transformation begins. You cannot ask others to do what you won’t do because you’re uncomfortable or fear losing favor with someone. You must lean into that discomfort and act. My life depends on it.”
We will travel through our discomfort, such an easy journey in comparison to the centuries of hardship and inequality communities of color have faced. And we will act. We will share our actions with our community and, above all, we will listen so that our actions have the greatest impact.
With deep respect,