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Lauren Ruffin Post by Lauren Ruffin

By Lauren Ruffin on February 24th, 2017

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Our Next Step in Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression

Big Ideas | Advocacy | Arts | Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression


Image credit: Nicolas Raymond

The world has changed a lot since November, and we just wanted to take some time to remind you of who we are and where we think we’re going.

Throughout the nearly 20 years of our existence, we’ve collaborated with our member artists to transform the arts ecosystem in our country. Fractured Atlas has always been about leveraging technology products and resources to level the playing field for independent grassroots artists, small arts organizations with few or no staff, and within underrepresented communities. Our willingness to stretch the limits of what we think we can do in service of these ideals has helped artists raise over $100 million since our founding, among other important accomplishments.

Some of you have noticed that we’ve been sounding a bit more fiery and political since the election. It started with a post-election blog post that pulled no punches, and since then we’ve significantly increased our level of engagement on social media, alerting you to key executive orders and policy statements that will have a direct impact on the lives of artists. Many of our member artists have also continued to work in direct resistance to such policies, and we’ve done our best to spotlight their powerful work.

For us, silence simply isn’t an option.

We understand that some of you disagree with the things we’ve been saying, and we respect your right to those views. Others are uncomfortable because you feel we’re driving outside of our lane and becoming more political than we have been in the past, or than we should be today. However, these are unusual times.

The bottom line is that many of our members stand to be hurt by the policy platform of this administration and congressional leadership. Like many of our members, perhaps you obtained insurance under the Affordable Care Act that now may be dismantled. Your work may be supported, directly or indirectly, by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, all of which have been threatened with elimination or privatization. Perhaps you rely on collaboration with artists from abroad, or you yourself may not have US citizenship. In that case the clamp down on immigration, which offends the very foundation of our Constitution and values, will affect you more personally than most.

Of course, in addition to being an artist, you are also a compassionate, thoughtful human being. So odds are you care about the consequences of policies like these and others (climate change, DAPL, school reform, etc.) not just for how they’ll impact you, but for how they will impact others as well.

Our policy and advocacy work helps us continue to fulfill our mission of breaking down barriers for artists around the country, and improving the context in which they live and work.

Back in October, we outlined our commitment and journey towards becoming an active anti-racism and anti-oppression organization. Today, we take that one step further with the release of our Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Community Guidelines. In the face of a President who has mocked a disabled reporter, equated Mexican immigrants with rapists, bragged about sexual assault, and filled his White House staff with white supremacists, we could not, in good faith, live up to our commitment without speaking out.

For us, silence simply isn’t an option. But more than that, we ask you to join us in speaking out and speaking up whenever possible. 
We have always appreciated your thoughts, ideas, and conversations, and look forward to continuing the dialogue with you for years to come.

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About Lauren Ruffin

Lauren Olivia Ruffin is Fractured Atlas’s Chief External Relations Officer, responsible for the organization’s marketing, communications, community engagement, and fundraising. Prior to joining the team at Fractured Atlas, Lauren served as Director of Development for DC-based organizations Martha’s Table and the National Center for Children and Families. She was also fortunate to serve in various roles at and various positions at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Children’s Defense Fund, New Leaders, and AAUW. Before entering the nonprofit sector, Lauren held the position of Assistant Director of Government Affairs for Gray Global Advisors, a bipartisan government relations firm. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Political Science and obtained a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law. In her spare time, she serves on the Board of Directors of Black Girls Code, and can be found mountain biking or gesturing wildly at the teevee in support of Duke University’s men’s basketball team.