Dear Catharsis on the Mall Community,
Catharsis leadership is writing to express our solidarity with protestors in response to the racial trauma that Black members of our community, cities, and country are experiencing because of ongoing, systemic, and institutional violence and murders that continue to occur, particularly the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Black Lives Matter. From the militarization of police forces to healthcare for profit, we want to call out the very real danger and harm of white supremacy, and how it continues to devastate communities all around the country, perpetuating inequality and racism for the Black community.
With that, we are also writing to acknowledge our own complicity in that system and those institutions, contrary to the mission and values of our very organization. We acknowledge that while recent deaths may be the most flagrant manifestation of white supremacy, we are culpable for how we’ve internalized that within our own organization. This is to say we do not doubt that we have also contributed to the harm and trauma of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color who have participated in our annual Vigil for Healing over the years.
Our mission is more important than ever. Today, we are recommitting ourselves to our mission of creating accessible spaces for healing because Black lives matter. And if we are dedicated to being an anti-racist organization, then we should be able to center Black lives in the spaces we create.
To make the implicit explicit, Catharsis makes the following commitments:
- To care for and amplify the voices of our Black community members, leaders, artists, and activists.
- To take action by dismantling white supremacy and systems of oppression in everything we do– from our organization to programming to our culture.
- To learn, investigate, address and undo ways we are complicit in systems that perpetuate these inequities.
- To call on white community members to examine the ways they can display genuine ally-ship in this moment and rest of their lives.
- To create and hold space for our community to engage in difficult discussions, transforming dialogue into collaborative actions towards a new future for our community.
- To leverage our platform to affect change in the arts community and Washington, DC metropolitan area by advocating for more just policies and practices that disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.
We are all being affected by current events in different ways, some more drastically than others, especially those at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. We are with you, our community, to ensure the work we’ve committed to is done equitably as we fight to dismantle white supremacy without and within.
In the meantime some actions you can take are to connect with the following:
The Catharsis Trunk, Rings, and Roots