Devastating sorrow. Heartbreak. Exhaustion. Captured on camera, the execution of George Floyd has rocked us to the core. Yet, as shocking as the murder committed by police officer Derek Chauvin (as three of his colleagues looked on) is, George Floyd is one name in a long list of black men, women, and children who have been killed by police officers and white men. In recent days, you have read and heard many eloquent, poignant statements of solidarity with the black community. We at CAST passionately add our voice to this vocal coalition. Until Black lives matter, we will all be living in an unjust society that continues to turn a blind eye to systemized racism and state-sanctioned violence.
We have witnessed the uprisings in the throes of Mr. Floyd’s violent, needless murder. Across the United States and overseas, we’ve seen powerful, multi-racial and multi-generational public protests calling for sweeping and immediate change.
This is a first step – a public cry for justice. For after all, until we—each individual and as a collective—commit to change and action, our words will simply be rhetoric. We cannot remain complicit in an unjust, blood-stained status quo.
So, what will CAST do at this sorrowful and inspiring moment?
We at CAST stand in solidarity with Black communities in the movement to dismantle the unjust systems formed by centuries of white supremacy. Systemic racism and suppression run deep in the arts and culture field.
In keeping with our mission, one goal will be to work for long-term change in our immediate community. Building on our Keeping Space-Oakland initiative, we will expand resources, housing and workspaces for Bay Area artists and cultural arts groups who are working towards a just and equitable future. Over the next decade, we plan to raise over $100 million to do this.
We plan to incubate a series of conversations to bring together communities who are nurturing connection and culture during this fraught time. We will convene artists, cultural groups, designers, and urbanists to envision cultural spaces that have justice, equity, and peace built into them in San Francisco and Oakland.
Last, but definitely not least, we commit to strengthen the diversity of voices, perspectives and experiences on CAST’s governing board of directors, advisory committee members, and staff. We are working with a group of “Pathways to Equity” Fellows to develop a formalized guiding framework and criteria for the selection and retention of future volunteer leadership.