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Town Hall #4: What Comes After the Public Commitments?

A banner image with a black background with white text that reads "Words are appreciated, but action is necessary." There is a red square that says "Town Hall #4 with The Davids."
A banner image with a black background with white text that reads "Words are appreciated, but action is necessary." There is a red square that says "Town Hall #4 with The Davids."

On June 17 at 12 pm EDT, ArtsEmerson hosted a Town Hall with Executive Director David C. Howse and Artistic Director David Dower for a conversation centered around the most recent displays of racist acts in the U.S. and the subsequent “organizational commitment” statements to Black Lives Matters and dismantling white supremacy that we’ve seen all across the world from various institutions.

Over time, ArtsEmerson has developed a reputation for leadership in Boston’s cultural landscape with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are still on that journey, not yet where we want to be, so we look forward to discussing questions such as: What does it mean for an organization to make a commitment statement? What track record, if any, is necessary for those statements to have meaning? And what does it say when an organization chooses to say nothing at all?

As part of our values, we gather where we can to engage in these difficult discussions in order to move forward and make meaningful commitments toward equity and justice. Our mission statement directly calls us to this moment, “cultivating diversity in the art and in the audience, we ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them.” It is with this belief at our core that we move forward.

Before watching the video of the Town Hall, we encourage our audience members to read the following content on our blog, as much of the conversation will be guided by these pieces:

Thank you for growing alongside us toward the future, holding us accountable, and leading in this pivotal moment. If you feel inclined, please continue the conversation in the comment section below.

1 Comment

  1. This was a great session serving for me as a way to break though the isolation of the current moment to hear from and be connected with people I trust who expand my understanding beyond my own boundaries. I think the purpose of theater is to enlarge our understanding of life. The shows we see and experiences we partake in bring us into worlds and scenarios different from our own and through that we expand who we are and how we see the world. The same is true of the Town Hall. Critically, the Town Hall gives me a chance to expand my understanding, and in some cases, validate my views, in a very timely way when I am yearning most for this connection, feeling vulnerable as an individual and am most concerned about my community.

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