As we can see in the widespread protests against the murder of George Floyd, people are filled with rage and grief at his individual death and at the systemic violence against Black people in this country. As an organization committed to anti-racism and anti-oppression, we are all feeling that rage and grief ourselves.
Julia Barry with co-organizers Rev. Adriene Thorne, Dusty Francis, and Dionne McClain-Freeney Julia Barry, along with co-organizers Rev. Adriene Thorne, Dusty Francis, and Dionne McClain-Freeney, is the creator of “Habitat: Home,” a nationwide community-building project powered by art. Through collaborative making and multidisciplinary performances about ‘home,’ artists and residents across America work toward a more peaceful, healthy country. Julia is based in Brooklyn, New York and has been a Fractured Atlas member for almost a year.
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Note: The librarian’s last name is Reading. How awesome is that?! (Also note, my mom saved everything.) Around Memorial Day each year when my sister and I were kids, our parents would take us to the McCollough Branch of the Evansville Public Library. It was that annual rite of passage — the summer reading challenge! We’d select a hefty stack of books, and then hope to God come Labor Day we’d have read enough of them to earn that sweet certificate for a free scoop of Baskin Robbins ice cream.
[This time of year brings a whole host of looking back, looking forward pieces. Instead of a round-up of the top books or movies, or predictions about what’s to come in 2019, I thought it might be a good time to check in on our anti-racism, anti-oppression journey at Fractured Atlas.]
In October 2016, Fractured Atlas presented its commitment to anti-racism/anti-oppression. Specifically, As part of Fractured Atlas’s commitment to supporting individual artists and the arts sector overall in firmly planting themselves in justice, we are especially committed to ensuring that our environment, and those created by our member artists, are welcoming to all individuals, regardless of race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, or any other bias that may present itself. Each day we are working, to paraphrase Mr. Baldwin, to dismiss the vocabulary we have hidden behind for so very long. [Emphasis added.]
In October, we posted about our process and reasoning for race-based caucusing at Fractured Atlas. It’s been a few months since then, so we wanted to continue sharing our experiences.
As part of our commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression, Fractured Atlas has been hosting race-based caucuses since late 2016. Each space serves a unique role in our work. We’re sharing our experiences in the hopes that more organizations will implement the practice.
a mosaic of the Fractured Atlas staff “I’m not interested in anybody’s guilt. Guilt is a luxury that we can no longer afford. I know you didn’t do it, and I didn’t do it either, but I am responsible for it because I am a man and a citizen of this country and you are responsible for it, too, for the very same reason… Anyone who is trying to be conscious must begin to dismiss the vocabulary which we’ve used so long to cover it up, to lie about the way things are.” ~ James Baldwin A few weeks ago, Adam Huttler, Fractured Atlas’s CEO, wrote a blog post in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In that short post, he clearly stated our commitment to fighting systemic racism and other forms of oppression. However, while the post hinted that we felt our statement was long overdue, it stopped short of sharing how Fractured Atlas has navigated deep discussions about our place in the social justice movement for almost two years. Our guilt, and a desire to not seem “trite” or late to the protest had paralyzed us.
Source: Flickr user Johnny Silvercloud On Friday, Terence Crutcher was gunned down by police in Tulsa. Then yesterday, police in Charlotte shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott. They are just the latest in a terrible and seemingly unending string of unarmed black Americans who have been killed by police in this country.