The staff and board of Literary Arts are filled with outrage and sorrow at the racist killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and for all Black people enduring systemic racism and continued violence, especially at the hands of law enforcement.
These killings and the related protests occur against a backdrop where COVID-19 is taking a disproportionate toll on communities of color. We recognize these heartbreaking outcomes aren’t coincidental or surprising. They are the result of many racist structures upon which our city, state, and nation have operated since their founding.
Literary Arts denounces white supremacy in all its manifestations and we acknowledge our role in having contributed to and benefitted from the racist systems that still flourish in our community and the nation. Through this statement we reaffirm that we’ve committed ourselves to a different course. Guided by our mission and values, we continue to evolve our programs to be more equitable and inclusive of our many communities, particularly our communities of color. We also acknowledge that these communities are not homogenous in their identities and expressions.
Our role in the promotion of literature also demands that we actively fight racism in publishing, a historically exclusive and inequitable industry. We still have lots of work to do, but no challenge will waver our commitment.
We extend our support and compassion to everyone impacted by ongoing acts of racist violence and hatred. We, too, demand a just and equitable present and future, and ask our community to join us in active solidarity with all those who fight for justice.
We encourage you to research the following organizations that are committed to supporting Black communities. List compiled by Regional Arts & Culture Council.
Don’t Shoot Portland
Black United Fund
For over 30 years, Black United Fund of Oregon (BUF) has been committed to providing financial support and life-changing programs for low-income communities and communities of color in Oregon. The ultimate goal of BUF is to increase opportunities for growth by encouraging philanthropic activity in our state and putting funds in the hands of organizations providing resources for underserved communities.
Coalition of Communities of Color
The Coalition of Communities of Color’s mission is to address the socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism, and inequity of services experienced by our families, children and communities; and to organize our communities for collective action resulting in social change to obtain self-determination, wellness, justice, and prosperity.
The Portland African American Leadership Forum helps our Black community imagine the alternatives we deserve and build our civic participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives.
NAACP of Portland
The NAACP of Portland works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and eliminating racial hatred and discrimination.
The Urban League of Portland
The Urban League of Portland’s mission is to empower African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security, and quality of life.
The MRG Foundation
The MRG Foundation believes in the power of collective action to change the world.