The following is a living document the Art for Social Change committee reads at the beginning of each of our weekly meetings as well as any other special meetings.
Welcome to this open meeting of Art for Social Change. We are glad you are all here, especially newcomers. Due to the sensitive subject of racism we begin each meeting with prepared material to remain rooted in our common goal: to create art to acknowledge, define, and dismantle racism on our campus and beyond. Please take this opportunity to introduce yourself, state your pronouns, your role on campus, and choose someone who has not introduced themselves yet.
Racism is not personal. It is not an individual character flaw, a personal moral failing, or a psychiatric condition. Racism is a historical system of power that unfairly disadvantages individuals and conversely advantages others based on the social interpretation of how one looks (i.e., race) and saps the strength of society by the waste of human capacity. Racism works at an interpersonal level and at an institutional level. We acknowledge we are all racist as a result of our socialization in a racist society. Antiracism is the active practice of continuous self-reflection, education, and community action. Through this combination of reflection and action, called praxis, Art for Social Change seeks to dismantle racism.
We are a predominantly and historically white institution named after white colonizers in a city with a racist history and built on the ancestral lands of the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, and Watalala bands of the Chinook; the Tualatin Kalapuya; and many other indigenous nations of the Columbia River. It is important to acknowledge the ancestors of this place and recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices forced upon them. In remembering these communities, we honor their legacy, their lives, and their descendants. We also recognize we are not the first committee to address racism on campus and accept our responsibility to work humbly as part of this community.
- We center BIPoC voices, experiences, opinions, and ideas. Listen to BIPoC, their discomfort may be a sign to reflect or change course.
- Being courageous is not easy, but it is necessary. Mistakes will be made, own them, apologize by framing the harm caused (not your feelings), and commit to doing better.
- Call in, don’t call out. Point out mistakes without tearing people down.
- W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking?) Before speaking we must ask ourselves if we have allowed room and consideration for marginalized voices, ideas, and opinions.
- Intent does not equal impact. Impact is more important when considering harm.
- Equitable praxis. We exist in various social intersections, some of which grant us more privilege and power than others. We will strive to recognize this privilege in our interactions with each other.
Dialogue and art-making are an act of love, respect, humility and faith. As members of this committee we strive to honor these principles, honor each other, and join together in the fight for our collective liberation.
Thank you to everyone for being here and taking the time to be part of this meeting. Let’s close our time together today by saying an appreciation for an Art for Social Change team member or what you appreciated about the meeting today. After you’ve finished please choose another member of the group.