June 5, 2020
The Jacob’s Pillow family is in pain and outrage over the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, and the many others killed before them by racist violence.
We at Jacob’s Pillow affirm that Black Lives Matter and join with millions of others to affirmatively state that there is no place in our society for racism, bias, or police brutality. As an institution that seeks to unite people and communities by celebrating and advancing the cultural diversity of our country, we have a heightened responsibility to challenge white supremacy and disrupt systems of bias and oppression.
To that end, we commit ourselves to confronting the reality of racism in our country and pledge to expand our previous efforts to confront implicit biases, to practice deep listening, and to hold ourselves accountable to explicit standards of racial equity.
This will require us to make time in our organizational planning for both reflection and action and, by the end of the year, report out on progress in the following areas:
- Accelerating a resource-backed plan for recruiting and retaining a more inclusive staff and Board.
- Convening and compensating a group of Black and Brown artists and cultural practitioners to assess the Pillow’s curatorial, education, preservation, and community engagement programs in terms of racial equity.
- Creating a framework to comprehensively evaluate how our resources are spent and whom those resources benefit.
- Redoubling our efforts to partner with Black and Brown communities in Berkshire County, including the NAACP-Berkshire County Branch and BRIDGE.
- Sharing resources and creating intentional, accessible ways for our audiences to experience performance, to dialogue with artists, and to participate in conversations that will advance our mutual understanding about racial inequality, in hopes that all who work at and engage with the Pillow are accountable for creating a shared climate of belonging.
- Continuing to invest in the creation and presentation of new works by Black and Brown artists, including commissions to create virtual works between now and the end of the year; offering the Pillow as a site of retreat; and convening artists and presenters committed to art-based social change to forge a common agenda for action.
We know a statement is not enough. We have work to do, and we urge our Pillow community to join us in advancing racial justice and societal change. We invite you to give us your feedback on how Jacob’s Pillow might best continue to evolve as an organization that is accountable to its goals and constituents as we all work to learn and grow.
Chair, Board of Trustees
Executive & Artistic Director
Berkshire Resources for Integration of Diverse Groups through Education
NAACP-Berkshire County Branch
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Bail Fund Network
via the Community Justice Exchange
Black Lives Matter
The official #BlackLivesMatter global network
The International Association of Blacks in Dance
The Dance Union
Black-run podcast creating change in the dance world