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A Message from Director Dorothy Kosinski

6/1/20

Dear Friends,

We are living in a time of tremendous upheaval. Like you, my heart is heavy with grief watching the continuing violence towards the Black community in our country.

At the Phillips we speak often of our role as creating and supporting conversations around urgent contemporary issues. We are collectively facing multiple urgent issues, but I want to take this opportunity to offer my thoughts in particular regarding the events surrounding mounting racial tensions in the last few weeks; with the continued acts of violence against Black people in this country, resulting in the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and so many others before.

First, I want to acknowledge that many people are mourning and hurting. The pain is deep, and the anger is real. I want to recognize that whether it is the racial terror against people of color that is plaguing our nation, or the plague of COVID-19, we are facing intense and traumatic times.

Many in our community are feeling this pain, and I recognize that our colleagues and community members of color, and especially those who identify as Black, are disproportionately affected by the pandemic and the racial violence. I want to let you know that you are seen, and heard, and that I personally, and the museum institutionally, stand with you.

These incidents are reminders of the long road towards an inclusive and just society. At the Phillips, we have a strong statement that we are “fostering an inclusive environment that encourages and values diversity … to embrace our ever-changing world,” and we are committed to upholding those values in all our actions.

I know that for many of us, it is difficult to find words to address and express, and indeed feel worthy of the magnitude of this moment—it is normal, and indeed appropriate, to feel angry and sad. For many, it is a priority to show-up, support, and be an ally. I am including here some resources from our Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay, on what you can do for education, advocacy, action, and more. In the immediate moment, we have also listed a few organizations you may consider supporting financially as they work to engage and combat the scourge of structural racism.

Finally, although we remain separated, it is more important than ever that we continue to reach out and support one another because #BlackLivesMatter. We all need to do the hard work of confronting institutional inequalities, and committing courageously to anti-racism. I welcome and encourage you to share your thoughts.

Wishing everyone peace,

Dorothy Kosinski
Vradenburg Director & CEO