Sharing An Open Letter from SKETCH: ensuring that we stay accountable to our Black youth artists, staff and the Black community at large
« You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER. » – Clara Amfo, BBC 1 Radio Host
The last two weeks have been yet another reminder that the Black community continues to be under attack by white supremacist systems. SKETCH’s board of directors and staff sends their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who we have most recently lost including Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and D’Andre Campbell and all those whose deaths have not been televised.
It is in our grief and anger at these senseless murders committed by the police, SKETCH is ensuring that we stay accountable to our Black youth artists, staff and the Black community at large by taking swift action to ensure that folks are supported, uplifted, taken care of and their voices amplified as they continue to organize and march on the front lines for justice.
As an organization that is led by mainly white leadership, we are deeply committed to examining and activating our role as an accomplice to address violence, racism, oppression, and discrimination in our sector, in Toronto and in society generally.
- We will continue to look within and address our own biases and the ways that systemic and structural racism plays itself out in SKETCH;
- We will increase investment and resources to young Black Artists;
- Endorse Black leadership in SKETCH and in arts and culture;
- We will support self-care and resources for our Black staff;
- Our leadership will connect with other white leaders of arts and culture organizations to support Black leadership in the sector with resourced opportunities to lead in meaningful ways.
We want to acknowledge the trauma and grief of those who create with and work at SKETCH, who are Black. We know you endure violence on a daily basis. We want to reach out to support you, stand and work together with you, to fight for justice, for your health, and for your futures.
We seek to learn daily, with you, how to enact a more just present and future. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for calling us to be better. All of our liberations depend on it.
We join the movements for prison abolition, and for strong redirection of funding for policing to go toward community-based transformative justice efforts.
We call on the Arts Councils to create a Black Artists Fund to support Black Artists and Black Arts and Culture Organizations recognizing and investing in their leadership in arts and culture, and in building fair and inclusive communities.
We encourage the non-Black community members of SKETCH to stand with us and take action by:
- Educating yourself on the issues;
- Support your Black staff with personal time for self-care;
- Support the community by buying from Black-owned business (which include Black artists at SKETCH);
- Donate to organizations that are directly supporting Black folks;
- Reposting and re-sharing information on your social media feeds;
- Having constant conversations with your peers, families, and friends;
- Sign petitions that call for justice
With so many ways to actively support the dismantling of systems that continue to oppress the Black community, silence is not an option.
We welcome you all to join SKETCH in allying yourselves with the Black community in the fight for liberation for all, not as a token event but one that actually leads to a re-education, re-evaluation, and unbiased and selfless action.
SKETCH Working Arts »
-posted with permission from SKETCH Working Arts