a message from the Board Chair
June 2, 2020 ECRAC Arts Alert
We are heartbroken, angry, and drained as we watch and come to terms with the killing of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in our state. Over the last week, we have seen peaceful protests across our state. People using their first amendment rights to demand justice and change. Unfortunately, we have also seen riots, violence, and parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul burn to the ground. Although we understand the rage we cannot condone the violence and destruction. And to think, all of this in the middle of a global pandemic that is hitting communities of color at some of the highest rates in the country. This situation seems surreal and yet this is our reality.
We have to do better. Our nation, our state, and our arts community have work ahead of us to achieve the equality we ALL deserve. I realize this work needs to be done everywhere. In the coming months, the East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) will review our practices and host listening time to ensure that our policies are equitable and inclusive. ECRAC will also continue to host virtual sessions, so together we create space for our arts community to process, reflect, and support one another during this difficult time.
We also wanted to share with you that destruction hit the arts community. At this time, we know of several arts organizations in the metropolitan region that have suffered damage to varying degrees, including Springboard for the Arts, Juxtaposition Arts, Jawaahir Dance, Ananya Dance Theater, Vine Arts Center / The Ivy artist studios, among others. We are deeply moved that some of them have stated that “justice for the death of George Floyd is more important than broken windows.” Also, Migizi Communications, Inc., a native led, a youth-serving organization was burned to the ground near the Third Precinct police station. https://www.givemn.org/organization/Migizi-Communications.
I know some of you have been participating in peaceful protest, clean up efforts, and donating to help rebuild some of these organizations and I thank you. Every dollar matters, every broom matters, and every conversation with our family, friends, and community matters if we are focused on a just society.
Please take care of yourself. We need our health and strength to do this work.
Alana Petersen, ECRAC Chair