In Solidarity: Artists' Letter to the Community

As Creative CityMaking artists in cycle year 2015 and 2016, we strongly stand in accord and support with the civil disobedience happening across the city and especially the occupation at the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis.  After witnessing the occupation, our work during this year is at once visceral and personal.
As artists, our lens, song, painting or dance and activism is shaped by our interaction with the city in which we live.  We’ve observed, first hand, the brutality, the denial of racial hatred, and the police officers clashing with protesters, the grief, the confusion and the anger.  This chain of events deeply affects us and reminds us why art is such an inseparable part of a democratic society.  What happens in the city of Minneapolis by default impacts us all.  When the community is injured, we too are in pain.
We hope to illustrate how city enterprise affects everyone. With this letter, we stand against any ideology of racial supremacy that divides our city.
There is urgent work to be done beginning with acknowledging and naming systems in need of repair.  The historic and systemic disenfranchisement, neglect and erasure are indicative that changes are needed. We hope to move past a cultural history of exclusion and towards a new city that identifies, protects and honors the lives of its African American residents.  This means we will work toward a deep and urgent commitment to finding new and equitable paths forward together. If this injustice continues to be upheld by apathy, fear, normalization and enforcement of poverty; violence and suffering will inevitably continue to rise.  We must activate our individual and collective intelligence and creativity to shape a new city and new ways to value and build with each other.  The city, its families, and people’s lives depend on it.
Our yearlong processes have been spent working on the ground level.  It has been inextricably linked to the unfair stories and killings of children - black, brown and unarmed. Because we work in, live in and represent these same communities; our journeys this year reflect some of those stories as we make art and history in the city of Minneapolis.  
Creative CityMaking is premised on the One Minneapolis goals of reducing and eliminating racial disparities so all residents can prosper. If the city is to move forward, it must readjust its moral compass and tell a holistic story.
We will continue to walk with our communities on that path as stewards, as advocates for the communities we dwell and work in.  We show our support for the changes to move past the silence and crippling patterns of racial injustice, to nurture life instead of taking life.  We are pushing for these goals within our work, our lives, and our place in the story and state of the arts in Minnesota.
We stand with our city community coming together, to demand transformative justice and racial equity, throughout the city.  The city is our community.  We are all connected.
In solidarity!
Kirk Washington Jr., Mankwe Ndosi, E.G. Bailey, D.A. Bullock, Sha Cage, Reggie Prim, Jeremiah Bey, Ariah Fine
Creative CityMakers

What is Creative CityMaking?
Creative CityMaking Minneapolis (CCM) pairs staff in City of Minneapolis departments with experienced community artists to advance the City’s goal of eliminating economic and racial disparities. This “One Minneapolis” goal is focused on ensuring that all residents can participate and prosper. CCM develops new arts-based, field-tested approaches that engage traditionally underrepresented communities and stimulate innovative thinking and practices for more responsive government. This work is increasing the capacity of the City to address inequities in political representation, housing, transportation, income, and community engagement. CCM is a collaboration between Intermedia Arts and the Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy program of the City of Minneapolis.
Right now, nine artists are embedded in five City departments to support the development of new forms of engagement that allow diverse voices to be heard, residents to influence decision-making, and government to be more effective in creating a city that works for all, without exception.

Click here to learn more about Creative CityMaking