Black Lives Matter: Our Commitment
Dream by Derrick Carter, 2017 Beckmann Emerging Artist Fellow and 2016 Art & Soul Featured Artist.
The Arts Council of Indianapolis believes Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with all who are fighting against systemic racism, racial injustice, police brutality, white supremacy, hate, and hate crimes. We support protests, including artistic expression, to inform meaningful change, action, understanding, healing, and unity to drive our community forward.
We grieve the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Dreasjon Reed as the most recent names on a heartbreakingly long list of Black lives lost through horrific injustices. We share in the sorrow over human destruction and oppression and the visible and invisible trauma that it manifests in the people and places we love.
We have spent the past few years working to advance the priorities outlined in our Equity Statement to empower “A Full Creative Life for All” in Indianapolis. We have spent the past few days listening to and learning from Black artists and arts leaders. While we focus on equity and justice every day as part of our mission, we acknowledge that none of our actions or progress is fast enough or goes far enough, and we commit to being better and doing more.
The Arts Council of Indianapolis stands with our Black artists and arts leaders. Here is what we’ve heard them say: They are sad, angry, exhausted, and enraged. They do not feel safe or protected in our city and country. That these challenges are not new. But what is new is a glimmer of awareness, acknowledgment, and interracial unity. There is a growing recognition that racism is a public health crisis, and, as with COVID-19, stopping the spread requires acknowledgment, education, protection, and intentional action by every one of us.
Here is what we’ve said in return: We hear you. We see you. We are with you. And we commit to taking these next steps together:
- We will support Indy’s Black artists. We need them more than ever to help imagine a different world.
- We will support our Black arts and cultural organizations. And we will support all arts and cultural organizations that are working as allies and advocates.
- We will use the words Black Lives Matter. Words matter. We will be specific.
- We will support organizations on the front lines: Indy10 Black Lives Matter, The Bail Project, Kheprw Institute, Indianapolis Urban League, and Faith in Indiana.
- We will encourage Mayor Hogsett, City-County Council, and our City of Indianapolis partners in advancing urgent and necessary reforms to our police and criminal justice systems.
- We will support those working to restore and repair our downtown, small businesses, and public spaces: Downtown Indy, Inc., Indy Chamber, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, the Department of Public Works, and others.
More than 30,000 artists comprise our creative economy in central Indiana. And hundreds of arts and cultural organizations and venues embrace equity, diversity, inclusion, and access as core to delivering their mission.
We urge all Indy artists, organizations, venues, arts attendees and advocates across every creative discipline to stand together. We must help our community imagine, engage, heal, and move forward.
And we must ensure #IndyKeepsCreating to advance equity, understanding, and positive, meaningful change that is possible through the power of arts and culture.