Statement from the Board and Staff of GlassRoots
June 1, 2020
Art is powerful. Art can transform society and individuals. Art can lay the foundation for creation of institutions of justice and civil society. Art allows for coming together as a people of love. The staff and board of GlassRoots stand with our students, community members, and supporters, and express our outrage at the racial violence that has filled our streets this spring once again. We acknowledge the pain of our community and those around the country. At a time when we should be joined to fight a viral killer, the virus that is killing our black and brown brothers and sisters is the sickness of racism.
At GlassRoots, we intend to keep making our art in support of community and social justice, to hold programs that create economic opportunity, to tell our students that they can be agents of change, to open their eyes to opportunities to rise up and fully embrace their potential.
Our Newark knows better than most American cities the wages of the sin of institutional and individual racism. Decades of rebuilding have put this great city in its rightful place as one of America’s jewels. Even so, we continue to fight racism daily, when we get those calls wondering if it is “safe” to come to our studios, when it is suggested that we move our studios to the suburbs, when our students don’t have access to the same educational opportunities that their suburban peers enjoy, including reliable WiFi at home, and when too many of our residents face disparate treatment in the criminal justice system.
We often talk about what people see when they look at GlassRoots. Do they see a place to buy glass, a nice after-school program, an art school? We know what we see – what we are – an organization using the arts to move forward toward a just community, one that values every individual’s contribution, and that represents the cultural and economic vitality inherent in a city as vibrant as Newark.
We at GlassRoots will continue to tell our students and everyone in this city that their lives matter; that we stand up for justice for George, for Breonna, for Ahmaud; that we stand for the Black transgender women who have been killed: Dustin, Neulisa, Yampi, Monika, Lexi, Johanna, Serena, Layla, Penélope, Nina, Helle, and Tony.
Art, at its highest expression, is a political act and a conscious effort to create and participate in social change and social justice. We encourage everyone to use art as a tool for healing. We at GlassRoots make these commitments to our students, to our staff, to our board, and to our community.