The Koffler Centre of the Arts stands in protest against the systemic violence, abuse and discrimination perpetrated against Black Canadians and African Americans. We grieve for the loss of lives and we are angered by the pain and fear inflicted on our fellow citizens. We ask for justice for all Black and Indigenous people killed by police in our country, and in all countries.
We recognize that the recent acts of racialized violence, both local and global, are not isolated incidents. They are part of a broader history of systemic racism, discrimination, and police brutality that have taken and continue to threaten the lives of Black and Indigenous people across North America and around the world. We denounce and condemn all such actions.
As an arts organization and a Jewish organization, we contribute to shaping cultural discourses, articulating social values, and providing platforms for individuals and communities to raise their voices. It is therefore our responsibility to play an active role in propelling systemic change within our own organization, the arts community and the broader circles in which we operate. In recent years, we have revised our mandate, placing social justice, equality and intercultural dialogue at its centre. We have also examined and begun to shift our curatorial and institutional practices to promote greater equity, and have developed ongoing partnerships with multiple arts and community-based organizations, including those specifically serving Black, Indigenous and people of colour.
Over the past weeks, we have engaged in a process of further reflection on how we can deepen our commitment and strengthen our work as an actively anti-racist organization. These are our commitments for immediate and continued action:
• We commit to continue investing significant resources in presenting the work of Black, Indigenous and artists of colour through our visual arts, literary, digital and performance programs, and we specifically look to providing a more focussed platform for Black artists.
• We will commission artistic projects and mount solo exhibitions that address pressing issues affecting Black lives, and therefore our collective future as a society.
• We will continue to nurture Black curatorial voices within our own organization and engage Black guest curators.
• We will build on our ongoing collaborative partnerships with Black, Indigenous and marginalized communities through socially engaged projects and arts education activities.
• We will continue to implement proactive employment and recruitment policies to ensure equitable representation on our staff and governing bodies.
• We will engage in ongoing anti-racism education with our staff and Board, focusing on creating a truly shared, multicultural space in which the perspectives and experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of colour are fully respected, valued and centered.
Members of the Koffler staff and Board are contributing donations to Black-led advocacy, community and arts organizations that are at the forefront of crucial work advancing social justice for Black people as an integral part of societal progress.
We can do better. We must
do better. We commit to fully living our mandate of promoting social justice and intercultural dialogue, using our artistic platform to help eradicate anti-Black racism, to educate and to foster a just and equitable society.
Update, July 8, 2020
In June, the Koffler Centre of the Arts issued the above statement on how our organization will deepen our commitment and strengthen our work as an actively anti-racist organization, using our artistic platform to help eradicate anti-Black racism, promote BIPOC artists and voices, and foster a just and equitable society. Today, as a Jewish organization, we are signing on to an open letter expressing our commitment to working proactively to ensure racial equity within Jewish spaces and promote a fully anti-racist and equitable Jewish community. Click here to read the Open Letter
The Koffler Centre of the Arts
is a cultural platform that explores critical ideas and concerns of our times through exhibitions, publications, performances, literary events and digital initiatives. We examine complex issues through transformative art experiences that stimulate intercultural dialogue and position Jewish identity in conversation with diverse perspectives and global voices.