May 2020: Racial Violence and Discrimination
MAAM stands in solidarity with those protesting police brutality and advocating for change. MAAM knows that part of our goal of fostering excellence in the museum field includes demanding that museum professionals and institutions do better.
We can do better by leveraging positions of privilege to help our most vulnerable colleagues and visitors. We can do better by being anti-racist. We can better support our colleagues of color. We can do better by having conversations, sharing resources, and educating ourselves.
Let us foster excellence together. Our communities can thrive, but only if we can collectively strive to be a better society by holding each other accountable. Challenge assumptions, share resources, spark discussion.
We encourage you to watch this video. This video includes Black parents explaining to their children how to deal with the police and what their experiences were: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CA04jjVjvmQ/?igshid=19f963fz8nr1y
Calls to Action
How you can help right now:
- (FROM NYCMER) “If you are able, consider donating to local groups on the ground pushing for transformative justice like Reclaim the Block, Black Visions Collective, and the North Star Health Collective; and nationally like the Equal Justice Initiative, The Bail Project, Black Lives Matter, and Southern Poverty Law Center.”
- Learn more about Fighting Police Abuse with the ACLU’s Community Action Manual
- Register to vote and encourage others to do the same.
Here’s what we can do within the museum field:
The National Museum of African American History Talking about Race web portal represents a useful resource for organizations struggling with how to engage in these conversations with visitors, staff, and community members. https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/
- (From Museum Educators Roundtable): “Integrate anti-racist and culturally responsive pedagogy into your practice; reading, or rereading, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire or Culturally Responsive Teaching by Geneva Gay”
- (From Museum Educators Roundtable) “Read “Activating Diversity and Inclusion: A Blueprint for Museum Educators as Allies and Change Makers” by Wendy Ng, Syrus Marcus Ware, and Alyssa Greenberg from the JME issue 42.2″
- Train staff and volunteers in bystander intervention
- (From Museum Educators Roundtable): Download the Museums as Site for Social Action Readiness Assessment
- (From Museum Educators Roundtable): Partner with local racial and social justice groups in your community and pay them for their expertise
- Review AAM’s Facing Change Working Group Report with your staff yourmuseum’s DEAI working group or advisory board.
On a personal level as a museum professional:
- On a personal level, look inward: audit your work, consider your privilege, and think about where your influences and ideologies come from.
- Recognize how injustices affect Black, Asian, Middle-Eastern, Latinx, and Indigenous colleagues differently than white colleagues.
- Give space to colleagues of color. Allow them to mourn, and center their experiences over your own.
- Support minority-owned businesses and restaurants
- Explore Black museums online. When the pandemic is over, make a plan to visit these museums or support them with a membership or a donation. For a directory of museums created by people of color, visit MuseumHue’s Online Directory: https://www.museumhue.com/hue-museums
More from Museum Educators Roundtable: