As we share in the collective mourning for tragically lost lives, Root Division stands in solidarity with protesters around the nation against police brutality, violence towards people of color, and deep-rooted systemic racism. We affirm that Black Lives Matter.
We thank those in our community and across the country who are using their art, voices, influence, money, time, bodies, and hearts to create change. We stand beside you in calling for an end to the systemic inequity that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked.
While we don’t have quick and easy answers, we acknowledge our ongoing need for open dialogue, continued growth, and increased equity — nationally, locally, and within our own organization. As part of this process, we dedicate ourselves to be active listeners, learners, and visionaries for anti-racism, using our organization as a platform to amplify voices for justice. Now more than ever, we must continue to empower artists to be active, engaged, powerful forces for good.
While we have been hard at work creating programs and opportunities that intentionally bring together diverse groups of artists and audiences, we know we can do more. We are committed to providing more resources, opportunities, and support to Black and POC artists and communities moving forward. Even though it is just a start, we are including a short list of how Root Division plans to be more inclusive and can promote social justice through existing and new initiatives.
Some of the specific ways we can and intend to improve include to:
- Acknowledge and condemn racism and systematic oppression to the public
- Continue to increase the number of BIPOC artists in our Studios Program through our existing Latinx and Filipinx Teaching Fellowships, increased discount for studios, and the creation of a new Bay Area Black Artist Studio Fellowship
- Continue to use our exhibitions as a platform for diverse curatorial perspectives and artists’ voices
- Increase the diversity of our Board of Directors to be more inclusive of BIPOC members, including removing the financial barrier to membership and creating a dedicated social justice position
- Continue and increase diversity on our staff
- Continue diversity on our Curatorial Committee and Advisory Council
- Implement anti-racist training for our current staff, Board, and Studio Artists
- Prioritize equity and inclusion in our recruitment and hiring practices
We welcome your input, partnership, and contribution to help us move forward and put these ideas into action.
With hope and sincerity,
Michelle Mansour, Executive Director
& the Root Division Team
Places where you can find more resources and share your support:
BAOBOB (Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses)
Black Earth Farms
Black Organizing Project
City of Dreams
East Oakland Collective
People’s Breakfast Oakland
Last updated 05/24/2021