The brutal murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor join a long and painful history of extrajudicial murders of Black people. A passionate national and international protest movement against the discriminatory and violent treatment of Black Americans has emerged. Now is the time to take a stance—silence is complicity. In the face of racial inequality and injustice, it can be seen, or worse felt, like collusion. Addressing issues of racial injustice and white supremacy brings discomfort. Such uneasiness is incomparable to the daily life experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Shakori Hills Community Arts Center understands the devastation that racism, inequality, and prejudices of any type brings about, so we want to be clear on the fact that we believe that Black Lives Matter. In light of recent events we have been reflecting on the role that Shakori Hills, an organization we founded together as a community, can play in this fight, and have come to recognize that we, like so many other organizations, should be doing more to support the Black community and as well as all other racial and cultural minorities, the LGBTQ community, Senior Citizens, Military Veterans, the Learning Disabled, Hearing and Visually Impaired, and all other individuals that are consistently marginalized.
At Shakori Hills we work to bring people together. We work to meet on a common and just ground—share, celebrate, and appreciate our differences. But we recognize that is not enough. As board members, we recognize that seven of nine of us are white, and with that comes white privilege.
As a board, we will not tolerate racism and commit to actively working against racism and for justice, we understand this is a lifelong, organization-long commitment. We will move forward with a commitment by vowing to do better. The country’s racial inequality has been made somberly clear. As an organization with a unique voice and broad audience, we are utilizing our platform to take a stand. Black Lives Matter and doing what is right matters. We are committed to fighting for justice, and for speaking up. We are committed to listening, listening some more, learning, and understanding.
We have revised our mission statement (additions underlined):
Shakori Hills Community Arts Center’s mission is to provide diverse, culturally significant arts, music and sustainability education and inclusive outreach to our local community and schools, while preserving the greenspace of its 72-acre Chatham County homestead.
This is just a start. We ask you, our community, to give us honest and open feedback of what we can do to better foster inclusivity, diversity, and social and racial justice.
Because knowledge is power, we recommend visiting the website of our friends at Abundance NC for a list of resources to help educate non-black individuals for what we know is right, as well as resources to support Black-owned businesses.
Darrell Phillip Foushee, Board member
Charly Lowry, Board member
Andrew Branan, Board member
Carol Woodell, Board President
Clark Coppola, Board member
Jim Graves, Board Vice President
Jordan Puryear, Board member and co-founder of Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance
Lissa Farrell, Board Secretary and co-founder of Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance
Susan Reinecke, Board member