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Dear CityArts friends, families, and young artists,

It has admittedly taken us a while to speak on the events of the past couple of weeks. This is certainly not because we are reluctant to take a stance, nor because we are in any way unsure about our position: Black lives matter. The executions of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and Breonna Taylor were immense tragedies that stand not as isolated incidents of racism, but as representations of the anti-blackness, class-based oppression, and state-enabled violence that has dominated the history of this country.

We at CityArts are greatly impacted by these events and have been taking time to feel, to listen, and to process. We welcome these challenging conversations with love and empathy in our quest for collective healing and change. And we will not run from the task of embodying our values during this time of cruelty and opposition.

As artists and educators, we are constantly and carefully examining our philosophy and practices to better reflect and respond to the needs of our diverse community of teachers, administrators, volunteers, young artists, and families. We believe wholeheartedly in the capacity of art to improve the quality of individual lives, and in the power of education to engender positive fundamental change in the fabric of our society. Through our work, we seek to empower anyone in our community to celebrate their humanity, fight hatred, and approach perceived differences with compassion, curiosity, and a genuine desire to build a better world together.

Today and every day, we stand in fierce solidarity with those who protest and others advocating and fighting for systemic changes. We are hurt and enraged by the lack of empathy, trust, respect, and humanity displayed in acts of racist violence. We are moved into action by the evil of those who take the lives of others out of fear and insecurity. We promise to walk alongside our community toward justice, love, and understanding. Moving forward, we are recommitting to creating transparency, healing, and safe spaces within our community.

We promise to listen more than we speak at our open houses, teachbacks, and community forums.

We promise to make funding decisions that strengthen rather than drain the economic resources of our multicultural community.

We promise to treat our workers and volunteers with patience, dignity, and respect.

We promise to work with our youth in ways that teach open-heartedness, actively speaking out against bigotry of all kinds.

We promise to advocate for our community, particularly on the Southside, ferociously, and without compromise.

With respect and in solidarity,

Providence CityArts For Youth Staff and Board of Directors

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