The work of artists and creative activists can help to create a cultural democracy that prizes diversity, practices equity, and brings a deep respect for human rights to every aspect of civil society. Therefore, the people-powered U.S. Department of Arts and Culture* calls on all artists and creative activists to join in the movement to demilitarize the police and bring justice to victims of publicly funded racism.
(Originally posted August 26, 2014)
CALL TO ACTION: The USDAC calls on all artists and creative activists to use our gifts for peace and justice, sharing images, performances, experiences, writings, and other works of art that raise awareness, build connection, cultivate empathy, and inspire action.
The murder of Michael Brown (and Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, Jordan Davis, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and so many others) and the suppression of basic rights in Ferguson, MO (and so many other places) compel us to ask these questions:
- Who are we as a people?
- What do we stand for?
- How do we want to be remembered?
As a culture of punishment? Or a culture that values every human life, promoting true public safety grounded in justice and love?
As artists and creative activists, we understand that even as our present crises arise from economic and political conditions, these crises are rooted in culture.
- Official violence is a cultural issue.
- The denial of human rights is a cultural issue.
- Racism is a cultural issue.
We join together in affirming to all public officials and policymakers that a culture of punishment cannot stand. We join together in applying our gifts to the public gatherings, organizing campaigns, and policy proposals that will support positive change. We stand together with generations of creative activists in communities across the nation who have been envisioning and working toward a world of equity and safety for all.
We call on all to break the silence that permits injustice, recalling the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Together, we stand. Together, we speak. Together, we create.
- Judith Baca, Venice, CA
- Lauren Bartone, San Rafael, CA
- Jack Becker, St. Paul, MN
- Ludovic Blain III, Berkeley, CA
- Roberto Bedoya, Tucson, AZ
- Eric Booth, High Falls, NY
- Brett Cook, Berkeley, CA
- Peter Coyote, Mill Valley, CA
- Malkia A. Cyril, S.F. Bay Area
Eisa Davis, Brooklyn, NY
- Mark Dion, New York, NY
- Dana Edell, Brooklyn, NY
- Kathy Engel, New York, NY
- Arlene Goldbard, San Rafael, CA
- Beth Grossman, Brisbane, CA
- Lynden Harris, Cedar Grove, NC
- Bob Holman, New York, NY
- Adam Horowitz, Brooklyn, NY
- Douglas Kearney, Santa Clarita, CA
- Simone Jacobson, Washington, DC
- Stephanie Johnstone, New York, NY
- Glen Knapp, Philadelphia, PA
- Lucy Lippard, Galisteo, NM
- Dave Loewenstein, Lawrence, KS
- Jessica Robinson Love, San Francisco, CA
- Andres Marquez-Lara, Washington, DC
- Rev. Erik Martinez Resly, Washington DC
- Liz Maxwell, New York, NY
- Hannah Merriman, San Rafael, CA
- dominic moulden, Washington, DC
- Beverly Naidus, Seattle, WA
- Meena Natarajan, Minneapolis, MN
- Risikat I. Okedeyi, Washington, DC
- Martha Richards, Berkeley, CA
- Favianna Rodriguez, Oakland, CA
- Patrick Rosal, Philadelphia, PA
- Kara Roschi, Phoenix, AZ
- Brigette Rouson, Washington, DC
- Graciela Sanchez, San Antonio, TX
- Michael Schwartz, Tucson, AZ
- Frank Sherlock, Philadelphia, PA
- Jess Solomon, Washington, DC
- Gloria Steinem, New York, NY
- lamont b. steptoe, Philadelphia, PA
- Aaron Stern, Santa Fe, NM
- Makani Themba, Washington, DC
- Rashaad Thomas, Phoenix, AZ
- Mark Valdez, Los Angeles, CA
- Amy Walsh, Providence, RI
- Arthur Waskow, Philadelphia, PA
- Roseann Weiss, St. Louis, MO
- Yolanda Wisher, Germantown, PA
- Francis Wong, San Francisco, CA
- Lily Yeh, Philadelphia, PA
- Rick Yoshimoto, San Rafael, CA
- Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Brooklyn, NY
*The USDAC is not a government agency.