Hi! Like many of you, I have been processing deep sadness about the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a member of the Minneapolis police force. I’ve been pondering, reading and coming to a better understanding of what it means to be truly antiracist. I was always aware of the opportunities my white privilege has afforded me but the conclusion I’ve reached is that I need to listen more to the needs of communities of color and I need to amplify those needs in an act of solidarity.
This needs to be part of our everyday lives going forward, not just for #blackouttuesday or for a week. Silence is no longer an option. Because, in the words of Desmond Tutu, “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” To me, silence=neutrality and so my voice may grow hoarse as I call out injustices to communities of color, vulnerable communities and when our civil rights are impeded.
This week, I don’t want to provide a distraction. I believe that there is an opportunity in the midst of the Great Pause to be open-hearted and open-minded and help bring about real change with our brothers and sisters.
This week’s news update is centered on black creatives and the work of black artists. These are only intended to be part of a larger effort to actively seek out and support black creators, as of course one email could not contain the endless ways that black innovators are influencing the fashion, tech, and art world and beyond. After viewing these curated articles, click the links in the actionable items section for further books, videos, podcasts, films, and organizations that can provide information about the issues facing black people in America, and ways to provide support.
- Click this link to see over 55 trending beauty and fashion businesses with black founders. These shops range from shoes, accessories, clothing, and hair and makeup brands in a variety of price-points. For a more in-depth look at designer Anifa Mvuemba’s innovative recent 3D digital fashion show, click here.
- Click here for information about black-owned arts organizations in the Minneapolis area. While many of the museums and performance venues are closed due to the pandemic, the featured Somali Museum of Minnesota has online resources including a virtual collection and videos of previous performances. Another notable organization, Juxtaposition Arts, has a special emphasis on providing apprenticeships to young artists. These paid year-long apprenticeships work with students ages 14-21 in areas of specialty including graphic designs, textiles and screen printing, contemporary art, public art and murals, environmental design, and tactical urban planning, pairing students with professional mentors.
- This piece, “The African-American Art Shaping the 21st Century” asked 35 black artists what recent art inspires them. The interactive article features links to these albums, books, exhibits, and more that influenced these creators to become some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
- The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has a variety of virtual resources available even while the museum is closed. A new online portal called “Talking About Race” was released this week in order to provide a research-based virtual program to facilitate conversations about race and identity.
- Another Smithsonian that provides online exhibits while remaining closed during the quarantine is the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which has a collection of over 2,000 works by African American artists. Check out the website to view featured pieces and to learn about the artists who created them.
For this week’s interactive options, here are some resources for learning more about ways to be antiracist through a variety of virtual media.
- This article provides a variety of age appropriate books and information for conversations with children about race and racism.
- This blog post by the St. Louis Public Library describes a variety of resources for adults about the history of racism in the United States and how to combat it. Click here for additional reading recommendations on the topic
- Click here for a playlist of TED “Talks to Help You Understand Racism in America”
- Finally, here is the link for how to stream the recent film “Just Mercy”, which addresses systemic racism in America today, for free.
Of course, this week’s newsletter can only scratch the surface of information available online about racism in the United States and beyond, but hopefully it will provide resources for further research on the topic and lead to future discussions on ways to end racial injustice.
I am committing to continuing to listen and champion. Let’s do this!