Statement on Equity and Engagement
While it is true, it is not enough to state that the Cultural Alliance stands firmly against inequity of all kinds and is deeply opposed to and outraged by racial violence and police brutality. We recognize that we must be vigorously pro-active, more fervently align our day-to-day work with our most ambitious beliefs and aspirations, and take meaningful actions, whether small or large, that are focused directly on the inequities that define our region’s current ways.
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County is a membership coalition of some 550 artists, creatives, and organizations immersed in arts, culture, and economic development across coastal Fairfield County. The Cultural Alliance and its members represent a broad cross-section of cultural activity and encourage creative expression in myriad forms and manners. At the bottom of this page, you will find links to many of our members’ compassionate statements written in response to the terrible events and violent deaths that have demanded our attention and broken our hearts. We applaud our members’ views, commitments, and humanity, and offer these letters as a reflection of the turning tide of which we are all a part.
There is no question that ample data has identified our region as one of the most economically and racially inequitable in the country, conditions which methodically separate people and leave us feeling overwhelmed and dispirited. We experience these persistent outcomes in all that we do. While it is true, it is not enough to state that the Cultural Alliance stands firmly against inequity of all kinds and is deeply opposed to and outraged by racial violence and police brutality. We recognize that we must be vigorously pro-active, more fervently align our day-to-day work with our most ambitious beliefs and aspirations, and take meaningful actions, whether small or large, that are focused directly on the inequities that define our region’s current ways.
We will only begin to understand racial bias and inequity – its behaviors, beliefs, and structures – through a process of mutual learning grounded in the multiplicity of views, creativity, qualities, and experience that shape this region. While the global pandemic has interrupted our work in dramatic ways, we are deeply committed to broaden and deepen our relationships, hear every voice and perspective, and co-create and collaborate to achieve effective changes:
- We were already underway designing a Listening Campaign – a series of community meetings across the region to hear from the broadest and most inclusive constituency we have ever gathered. Our goal is to learn more about the area’s comprehensive cultural expressions and to better engage and give voice to the rich tapestry of our neighborhoods and towns. This is designed to be repeated every three years and to incorporate feedback into how effectively we succeed in embodying the voices of our region.
- The Listening Campaign is also designed to establish the Cultural Alliance’s core values and social policies to help us navigate a meaningful course in increasingly complex times.
- The Cultural Alliance has committed considerable effort to date on a long-term project, “Sowing Equity and Engagement by Design” (SEED), a county-wide initiative undertaken alongside the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. The egalitarian structures and processes of SEED draw upon self-organizing principles to support diverse, collaborative creative placemaking projects across the region, and to create a community of practice laboratory to discover more transformative ways of working together. SEED will leverage the unique powers of the arts and culture to express and energize the emergent future in each engaged community.
- During the pandemic, we have gathered our members together to support their journey through these unprecedented emergencies. One recent call, with artists and organizations interested in a collective response to the country’s racial trauma, discussed how to change our ways and heal our communities.
- As conveners, the Cultural Alliance is dedicated to encouraging and deepening this dialogue in order to collectively generate wisdom and practical actions from all participants. We will offer and facilitate a process that allows each participant to collectively support each other in evolving their own understanding and context and to identify and commit to specific actionable change. The Cultural Alliance will support the process with a method for participants to measure their own success, the initiative’s collective changes over time, and additional support including webinars, readings, videos, and ways to continue their work and collaboration.
Our current list of statements is ongoing. These words, difficult to choose, can only interpret our feelings in limited ways, but we trust that our collective actions will speak clearly and help to shape a future graced with the patience and creativity to engage, incorporate, comprehend, and act.
The Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County Board and Staff
Member Statements (in process)