New Vice-Chair Issues Open Challenge to National Colleagues

December 5, 2008  •  2 minute read

An Open Letter to my national colleagues: I have a moment now to digest the events of November 4, 2008 and feel the need to share my thoughts with a group of people for whom I have the highest regard: artists and arts organizations committed to social change. I come from a long line of freedom fighters, and as such have a commitment to community and its right to be heard that is grounded in this history. As I watched the election returns reach the point where they confirmed Barack Obama was going to lead this country, I was filled with excitement and exhilaration, tinged with a sense of sadness. The sadness was only brought on by the knowledge that my parents and grand-parents, who devoted their lives to the service of community and the cause of human rights, could not savor this moment with me. Colleagues, it is a momentous time for us. We finally have someone in the White House who fully understands the work we all do because, like us, his life has been devoted to community organizing and empowering the disenfranchised. He understands that the least among us must be made a part of the nation’s discourse if we are to rise to our highest heights. America has a chance to live up to its proclaimed ideals and the majority of its voting citizens affirmed this desire! Our work will be ever more critical in bringing into the spotlight those voices that may never otherwise be heard. We have a responsibility to keep the work truthful and the messages clear as we bring new artistic experiences to our communities. Art has always been the prism through which a society’s warts and its beauty marks are viewed, and artists have always held up the mirror to reflect these realities. How we position ourselves in this historic time is critical. I encourage all of us to use every opportunity to solidify our positions, renew our commitment to supporting the art creators, and bolster each other in our varied communities. A luta continua. Peace, Vicki Meek South Dallas Cultural Center