“ Toda persona tiene derecho a participar libremente en la vida cultural de la comunidad, disfrutar de las artes y compartir el avance científico y sus beneficios.”
Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos (Artículo 27, Sección 1)
A Call for Equitable Funding for Cultural Organizations Grounded in Historically Disenfranchised Communities:
Black/African and African Descendent, Latinx, Native, Arab, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander, Appalachian, LGBTQIA+ / Two Spirit and People with Disabilities.*
The United Nations ratified the principle of cultural equity as a human right. As our nation reckons with a legacy of structural racism, oppression and discriminatory policies and practices, cultural equity is essential for achieving social justice.
Covid-19 has once again laid bare the plight of communities suffering under an inequitable system. In this landscape, grassroots cultural workers and organizations, nonprofit and informal alike, remain chronically underserved and underfunded.
As artists and culture bearers, we are the frontline workers striving to repair a broken society, build community, foster social cohesion, and spark dialogue and understanding. By engaging people from all walks of life in artistic, critical, and cultural experiences, we reclaim joy and celebrate the human spirit.
Our communities are in crisis.
Our work is essential.
We want community-grounded experts to be part of this process to construct a new system of equity within philanthropy. To collectively advocate for cultural equity, we invite you to join in our call for unity and parity. If you are a small or mid-sized cultural or arts organization that is grounded in a marginalized community(s), we ask you to:
We want funders to dismantle processes and structures that enable systemic racism within the philanthropic space by equitably funding and investing in small-mid sized cultural organizations that are grounded in historically marginalized communities.
To support the self-determination, vision, and agency of our communities, we commit to openness and transparency in this process. We further commit to sharing the findings of the survey on an open source platform, while keeping the names of survey respondents anonymous.
A narrative contextualizing the findings will be publicly shared in the form of a “Brown paper” for local and/or collective dissemination to gatekeepers, state arts councils, foundations, agencies and other funding sources.
The “Brown paper” will inform an open letter, available for wide dissemination, that outlines the findings and demonstrates through an array of supporters the urgency of this call to action.
A zoom conference will be planned to critically address the state and condition of our organizations due to chronic underfunding and formulate strategic corrective responses.
Now is the time to unite in collective action to demand investment in our communities, our work, and our practice.
Founding members of this Call for Racial and Cultural Equity include:
MARTA MORENO VEGA
Founder of the Creative Justice Initiative(CJI),
Founder and Former Director of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
Executive Director, CCCADI
BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts And Dance
Roadside Theater Director/Appalshop (1976-2019);
ESMERALDA SIMMONS ESQ.
Founder and Former Director of The Center for Law and Social Justice, Medgar Evers College
GALERÍA DE LA RAZA
ISIS RAKIA MATTEI, ESQ.
CJI Board Member and Mattei Law; Lowery Stokes Sims, Cultural Worker, and Independent Curator
Indigo Arts Alliance
MARÍA ELBA TORRES
Instituto Interdisciplinario y Multicultural (INIM), University of Puerto Rico;
MARICRUZ RIVERA CLEMENTE
Corporación Piñones Se Integra (COPI)
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA);
LIBERTAD O. GUERRA
Executive Director, The Clemente
Community-based Visual Artist
Artist, Cultural Critic (Aeta, Chinese, Ifugao, and Purépecha)
Associate Professor, The New School, and Producer, “Decade of Fire”
Writer, Storyteller, Culture Worker
Artist, Cultural Advocate, and Producer, “Notes From A Native Daughter”
Asian American Arts Centre
*Please note: We do not use acronyms that erase or diminish our racial, ethic, and cultural historical legacies.
It is in honoring our unique contributions that we establish common grounds of understanding.
BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CREATIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE!
Contact us for more information.