In Solidarity: A Letter to Our Community

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Dear Light Work Community,
It has been an exhausting, sorrowful, and deeply troubling week. Whether you are here in Syracuse, in cities and communities across the United States, or watching from afar the unrest and outrage that the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week has provoked, know that we too are hurt and outraged. 

We too ask how many Black men and women must die at the hands of the police before this ends. We too ask what “accountability” would look like. In our own city, police have used tear gas against our young people and physically attacked a respected older photojournalist during a demonstration. Across the country this past week, there have been more than one hundred incidents in which police have targeted and attacked journalists carrying cameras.
We will not be silent. We stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and join those in our city, across the nation, and around the globe that continue to fight against racial oppression, violence, and discrimination. At our Urban Video Project (UVP) site on the facade of the Everson Museum of Art, we’ve projected a series of photographs of protests by photographers Cherilyn Beckles, Mylz Blake, Dennis Fernando, Eric Jackson and Maranie Staab, along with a few quotes that resonate with this moment in history, including those of Angela Davis: “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”

It is necessary that we all do our part to make this nation better and demand accountability for the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and so many individuals who should still be here today. It feels as though we are grappling with multiple pandemics, and the tragic losses are difficult to comprehend. 
Light Work has always made it our core mission to serve and support emerging, under-represented, and diverse artists in those we select for programs, including exhibitions, residencies, and grants. Events unfolding at this moment have reinforced to us that all such efforts are imperfect and that we must also always strive to do better. We must all commit to this, and you have our commitment. We will seek more broadly to exist as a safe space for artists and communities in new ways and we ask for your partnership. This may require us to cross uncharted waters together but we know as artists and members of the community that we can not afford to go back. 

On behalf of the Light Work Staff and Board,

Shane Lavalette, Director
Light Work