We stand in solidarity with the millions of people from around the world who have taken to the streets demanding change, faced with brutality and chaos. We demand justice for the police murder Of George Floyd — killed not only by a knee, but by the full weight of systemic racism. His death, of course, has precedent: Breonna Taylor, Eric Gardner, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin — to name just a few in the vast procession of lost Black lives extending through history, each reenacting the abhorrent enslavement of Africans upon which America was built.
Once again, the Black community has led the way toward social progress through gathering in peaceful protest, even while knowing they have borne a disproportionate share of deaths amidst the global Coronavirus pandemic. Police quickly erupted in violence, responding with weapons and the full protective gear unavailable to front line health responders saving lives. We know this ongoing movement to overcome centuries of oppression demands actively speaking out against injustice.
“Unprecedented and Uncertain”
This is the catchphrase of 2020, echoed by organizations, brands, pundits, and politicians. Its core is a denial of culpability coupled with a lack of vision — “we could not have anticipated” — as if we were blind to the veil of the spectacle, the structural inequity and injustice of our society was unknown to us, and the inequality and self-destruction of extractive capitalism to humanity could not be felt deeply in the marrow by anyone with mindfulness.
The Great Pause of the pandemic has not unleashed new ills, but laid bare truths about what our society values, and rendered explicit the grotesqueries of power, injustice, and capital already plaguing us. We have seen our most vulnerable communities, already encumbered by precarity, struggle for their livelihoods while adjacent to vast wealth. We have watched an undisciplined country risk amplifying a deadly pandemic by ignoring communal care. We have witnessed the positive effects of economic slowdown on our environment, revealing the existential unsustainability of business as usual.
Creative Action For Social Transformation
At Gray Area, social and civic impact through the arts is at the core of our mission. In this moment, we are reasking how an arts organization can best respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, and recommitting ourselves toward ensuring justice and equality for everyone. We have far to go as an organization and a society, but are dedicated to listening, providing a forum for organizing and acting both online and physically, dedicating programs to lift up Black voices, and engaging the arts to hold a mirror to society and explore how systems of oppression and violence have infected our technology and culture.
This moment calls for arts institutions, cultural workers, artists, technologists, and citizens to change historical precedent through collaborative action. If you cannot join the protests physically, we encourage you to visit some of the resources below to act as you can. This is not a struggle that will end in a week, month, or lifetime, but asks us to continually renew our efforts toward a better world. There is nothing more certain: Black Lives Matter.
Today, we are trying to respond rapidly to the needs of activists with on the ground support and organizers with infrastructure to safely support communications:
• Our self-hosted Patch Chat server supports safe, invite only, encrypted channels that can be used for organization and communication. No communication is accessible beyond you and the recipient with keys to read encrypted messages.
• For those who can’t join the protests physically, we are organizing police scanner monitoring and logging in collaboration with ScanMap project. If you are out in the protests, check the site for information about police activities at the link above.
If you’d like to help support, email us at [email protected]
Take care of one another,
The Gray Area Team