Report by Paula Antolini, June 12, 2020, 11:35AM EDT
The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut is inviting the creative community to lead in region-wide support of their “Walk the Walk” call for action.
The recent COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine has affected all walks of life in many ways, and the creative community in our area is struggling. Add to that, the latest protests regarding ‘Black Lives Matters,’ groups, who are supporters of a movement that seeks justice for all the lives lost to police brutality and the fight against institutionalized racism, and it affects the situation even more.
Lisa Scails, executive director of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut in Danbury, decided there was a need for a call to action to the artist community in the greater Danbury. She said:
“This much seems clear: We must change.”
“Artists and arts administrators will not single-handedly heal and improve our country, but we can help to move through these times with greater clarity, direction, and purpose. In fact, we believe creative leaders MUST be involved, must be at the forefront of the messaging, of the change in culture. And we must lead by example,” said Lisa Scails,”We acknowledge that, yes, America is a place where many can succeed and flourish. Now we say America needs to be that place for Black Lives and other targeted groups.”
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“Creative leaders and their allies are already inclined to support justice, equality, and the understanding that America has been, and is, a place of inequality based on skin color, as well as gender, sexual preference and country of origin. As individuals, we are walking streets in solidarity, volunteering, donating, and sharing our thoughts. Some arts organizations are already moved to act for change.”
Now, the let us act as a community, to bring our collected voices to the discussion, and to make an impact for change together.
“WALKING THE WALK”
Calling art makers, creatives, and arts administrators in Western Connecticut. Join as a group of allies from the arts sector committed to actionable practices in support of black lives and other targeted groups. The focus is for you to identify and develop three practices over the next six months. There will be an initial Zoom meeting date and then a three- and five-month check in. What follows will be up to the maker or arts administrator. The Cultural Alliance will track, provide support in the form of resources, tools, and connecting with partners. We will promote Walk in Their Shoes practices region-wide once put into place. SIGN UP!
The Cultural Alliance will host a series of conversations from July through August on topics, such as Creative Expression of Compassion; Social Issues and the Arts, Build Awareness as Empowerment; Moving from Pain to Reconciliation; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and White Suburbia. SIGN UP!
We encourage all creatives – makers, administrators, and creative business owners to put a DEI Policy in place and begin looking at their own norms and practices related to equity and inclusion. The Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut approved its DEI policy this year and committed to helping the community through this process (resources, tools, backroom guidance, and facilitate meeting your goal in this work). SIGN UP!
“This is a moment to tackle the emotional challenges to educate ourselves and include in our practice specific actions to help dismantle systems of oppression. This work requires you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you can do this, real change can happen. Let’s lead the way for all of us in being and doing better,” Scails said.