“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As Baltimore City and the nation raise our voices to combat racism, BOPA supports the right of everyone to speak up against injustice and inequality. Racism is everyone’s problem and cannot be tolerated. None of us escapes the scourge of racism in America or globally and all of us must work together to combat the pervasive callous indifference to life and liberty.
Our Constitution affords us the right to peacefully assemble in protest. Like the right to life, liberty, and justice, freedom of speech is an inherent right for all Americans. As artists, we process what is happening and what we hope for the future through our images, music, and words. Art is an effective and necessary form of activism and peaceful protest.
Art as activism has a long history in moments of struggle across the world. But it documents the present for the future and the art that we create remains and helps shape the narrative of history. For it is often through the arts – through murals, novels, poems and more – that we can most clearly show the world around us, challenge it and, hopefully, change it.
As we remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the many others that were murdered at the hands of injustice, it is incumbent upon all of us to use our voices, our art and our vote to demand much needed change.
Donna Drew Sawyer
CEO, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts