Response to Black Lives Matter Movement

Image Credit:  Lola Flash, “What Else Can I Say”, May 30th, 2020  

Pen + Brush has thought and felt much regarding the tragedy of systematic racism, brutality, and sustained violation of black Americans and the subsequent movement, protests, and events that came together over this past week.  We are overwhelmed with anger and sadness for the unjust murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade that continue an incalculable list of immeasurable loss.  So, let us be clear:  Pen + Brush is in full support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The enormity of what we now face as a society to demand change, reflect, act, and hold ourselves, our systems, each other, and our elected officials’ accountable lies before us.  As an arts organization fighting for gender equity, diversity is a natural part of our cultural work in creating access and recognition for significant voices kept out of the canon of art due to systematic devaluation of their work based on their gender.  For artists who are black and brown this lack of and denial of access is even greater based on the color of their skin and compounds and often precedes that issue of gender.  In the coming days, weeks, months, and years our artists and writers will begin and continue to show us the way. As Toni Morrison said, “This is precisely the time when artists go to work.  There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear.  We speak, we write, we do language.  That is how civilizations heal.”

Pen + Brush stands firm in its commitment in supporting the voices of our diverse communities through our resources, platforms, and programs.  Although this is an extremely onerous time, and the loss of life itself and the profundity of this moment cannot be under stated, when we look through the eyes of artists and writers, we are hopeful at the possibility of change.   

Dawn Delikat 
Associate Executive Director 
On Behalf of the Pen + Brush Board and Staff