We are not the post-racial utopia we claim to be. Our police department is the same as others across our nation that have gained attention for negative reasons: LAPD, Ferguson… Sacramento.
We are not immune from bad apples, we are not immune from corruption, and we are not immune from anti-Blackness.
I started BlackArtsMatter as a way to shed light on racism that is in every aspect of our lives. Systemic racism is everything from tokenism for representation, to law enforcement targeting venues that cater to black audiences, venues refusing to book events that are “too black,” and the court system ignoring racial violence when victims are black. I know because I have endured all of these things.
Sacramento News & Review profiling a state-sanctioned executioner feeds into this system of systemic racism by putting a killer—in a Superman shirt, no less—on the cover, with total disregard for Joseph Mann’s family, the families of others lost to those meant to protect and serve, and the Black community.
Instead of listening to our concerns, they tagged certain activists in a Facebook post that doubled down on their complicit role in upholding systemic racism by writing a piece that is not groundbreaking in any way. They should have used their platform and voice to be truly groundbreaking, to amplify the voices of marginalized, oppressed groups instead of the same ones we have always heard.
I call on fellow artists to be the change they want to see. Activism isn’t just an adjective. It’s a verb, an action. Just like the change-makers before us, we have to do some work.
I hereby propose that artists nominated for SAMMIES denounce their nominations and boycott the event. The bus boycott wasn’t easy, but it had to be done. If we keep supporting the systems that oppress us, there can be no change. We need to stand for something, or we’ll fall for anything. Now is the time.
I see a lot of people saying Black Lives Matter. Now is your chance to prove you mean it.
Founder of BlackArtsMatter