Standing in Solidarity
June 9, 2020
For Immediate Release
The Board of Trustees of Lesbians Benefitting the Arts: producers of the Ohio Lesbian Festival acknowledge the tragic murder of George Floyd and the troubling behavior of many local law enforcement agencies, including the Columbus Division of Police. Further, we acknowledge that these events have had a dramatic impact on the Black Community both locally and globally. We recognize that the blatant brutality by white police officers has led to the death of too many black people including most recently, George Floyd, Ahman Ahbery, and Breonna Taylor. We recognize that Black transgender people die by violence far too regularly, including at the hands of police. We stand for Tony McDade and Nina Pop too. Right here in Columbus Ohio, Henry Green, Tyre King, and Jaron Thomas, three black men, lost their lives at the hands of the Columbus Division of Police in the recent past. This is unacceptable and change must be made.
We stand in solidarity with and support black people’s lives everywhere. Black peoples’ lives have been torn apart and tormented by violence perpetrated both by individuals and by the police. State sanctioned violence and systemic racism permeate our society. This must end. We are here. We are watching and this is what we pledge to do about it. We ask you to ring the alarm with us. There is no room for white supremacy. We are taking the following tangible steps to be a part of making change in identifying, naming and working to eliminate systemic racism.
We are committed to divesting from white supremist behaviors and structures in our organization. To start, we are making a donation to the Columbus Freedom Fund, a community bail fund centered on Black liberation and freedom. We encourage you to join us in that, if you are able.
We agree as an organization and a board that we have work to do. We are committed to the ongoing work of unlearning racism, calling it out and naming racism and white supremacy when we see it.
We encourage womyn to join our online community of womyn to support Black Womyn, Womyn of Color, Native and Indigenous Womyn as Allies. We offer a safe space to have discussions around race. We are an online space rooted in feminist principles of respect, radical listening, radical hearing, love and grace. We are committed to creating dialogue and opening space for conversation.
We have also compiled a list of organizations that are doing work on the frontlines for you to consider supporting. There are, of course, other worthy organizations both nationally and locally and this list is by no means exhaustive.
We have also compiled a list of resources for people to join us in actively unlearning racism. This list is a starting place and there are many other resources available.
Reclaim the Block
Know Your Rights Camp
Black Vision Collective
Black Lives Matter
Free Them All for Public Health
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Communities United Against Police Brutality
Black Mental Health Alliance
No New Jails NYC
Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar
So, You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi