SECCA stands in solidarity with our friends and neighbors against racism and in the belief that Black lives matter.

Dear friends,

Our nation faces a time of great unrest, fueled by the recent violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans, as well as the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black, ethnic-minority, and poor communities. This pain and anger should give us all pause, to reflect on our beliefs, values, and actions, and to determine what more we each need to learn and do to make our country fairer and more just. SECCA stands in solidarity with our friends and neighbors against racism and in the belief that Black lives matter.

There is work to be done, especially for White Americans and particularly for art museums and cultural centers. Such work should encourage us to decenter our own narratives and experiences so that we can hear and understand those of people whose voices are so often ignored or discounted or violently silenced. It should lead us to acknowledging the existence of systemic racism and to dismantling White supremacy. This work must materialize in radically different practices in our workplaces, communities, cultural centers, economies, and legal systems -- practices that help to heal the wounds of centuries of racial violence and discrimination. This will be difficult, painful work. But we must embrace it if our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens are ever to be truly free and equal.

SECCA wishes to help facilitate and participate in this work in ways that are shaped by and responsive to the needs, wants, and strengths of the Black community. When we welcome visitors back to the museum, we can offer access to our facilities and grounds to groups who want to hold discussions, readings, art activities, performances, workshops, and so on. We can partner with Black artists and art organizations to distribute and amplify their work and voices. We can advocate for greater funding for the arts and art education, especially in underserved schools and communities. And we can help organize public art initiatives that speak to community interests. The staff and I will be contacting community organizations and leaders; but if you have ideas, comments, or questions, please let us know.

SECCA's work includes broadening and diversifying the views and experiences that inform our daily practices. This work entails:

• Recruiting, supporting, and learning from Black and ethnic-minority board members and staff;
• Having all leadership and staff participate in racial equity and justice education;
• Developing next-generation leaders for the art community through the use of funds, residencies, and full-time positions targeted to Black and ethnic-minority professionals; and
• Practicing community-based planning for exhibitions, events, and programs.

Art celebrates our humanity and all the joy, pain, relief, and anger that comprise the human experience. Contemporary art reflects our most immediate experiences, inviting us into different -- and often disquieting -- perspectives. As a "center" for contemporary art, SECCA must remain committed to inviting and supporting artists and audiences from every corner of our community and nation, and we expect to be called out when we fail to meet that commitment.

In solidarity and with great respect,

Bill Carpenter