We are witnessing the force of humanity’s ability to manifest both compassion and destruction simultaneously. Last week, a range of feelings and emotions exploded onto our national consciousness as a result of the murder of George Floyd. The Arts Council for Long Beach extends our condolences to the Floyd family and to all other families nationally as well as locally who are reliving the tragedy of losing a loved one to police violence. These include the families of Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade most recently.
As an organization that works to enliven communities, we are uplifted by the peaceful demonstrators on our streets and saddened by how many of our neighborhoods and small businesses were vandalized. The violence we are seeing is a complex response to a horrible history of oppression. The street and storefront clean up shows us that when we channel our energy to actionable purposes, so much becomes possible. In order to change and confront racism, we need to channel this energy beyond the surface and toward root causes.
We are a community of artists, performers, makers, and supporters that fundamentally believes in the human spirit to create. If you are seeking community support or seeking to make a change within your own perspective and do not know where to start, look to writers, artists, and performers to show you a path. This is where you begin to put yourself on the line, like Audre Lorde stated, “to kill, end, destroy something familiar and dependable, so that something new can come, in our world.”
As a community, we can no longer depend on the privilege of art for art’s sake. We commit to keep arts working so that a new way of living and honoring our whole humanity emerges. This is why Black Lives Matter and we stand in solidarity with the movement’s values and will work to create space for Black imagination and innovation.
To learn more about Black Lives Matter, visit https://blacklivesmatter.com.