Photograph by Tim Greenway Salt '03.

June 1, 2020

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” - James Baldwin

From coast to coast, for more than a week after the senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, we have seen protests and unrest. As we mourn for those who have lost their lives, including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, we as a community must once again grapple with what it means to be an artist in a world that does not always reflect our vision of justice.

Members of our community have been directly impacted by unjust policing practices and have stood resilient in the face of racial inequities in our legal and judicial systems. Sadly, we know that class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and religion can intersect to add layers of complexity and bias to racial inequities.

Others of us, myself included, are privileged in myriad ways, from our race to our upbringing to our level of education. Now, we are being called upon to step up and call out the traumatic deaths of Black and Brown people in our country at the hands of those who should be serving every person and every community equally.

Amid the saddening news, I am inspired by the group of Minneapolis artists who created a mural in honor of George Floyd, the hundreds who marched in Maine this weekend in peaceful protest of police violence, the Portland families who brought their children to participate in Wee Chalk the Walk - a Family Day of Action, and the people of all races who have organized awareness-raising protests in so many cities.

These acts of courage and passion give me hope; however, without dialogue, the injustices will continue. As James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” To face this together as a community, MECA is hosting a facilitated conversation for students, faculty and staff to discuss the impacts of injustice in our communities.

Respectfully,
Laura