An update from our Executive & Artistic Director
Christopher A. Gruits · Posted June 16, 2020The Annenberg Center believes that Black lives matter, and we stand in solidarity with the nationwide movement to eliminate the racism, violence, oppression and systemic injustice that is endemic across our country. As part of an institution of higher education and as an arts organization, we recognize that we are often at the forefront of addressing issues that confront our society. We must be leaders of change and part of the solution.
This statement is the beginning of a process, not the end. We recognize that we have much work ahead of us and we pledge to work toward creating an environment that is inclusive and free from discrimination for artists of color on our stages, for our patrons of diverse cultural backgrounds, and for staff, board, faculty, students and all persons of color across the Penn campus.
While we have a long history of supporting artists of color and offering diverse programming on our stages, and that will not change, this is not enough. We must examine our own institution and dig deep to challenge our assumptions and examine the ways our organization has operated out of privilege. We must work not only to ensure inclusivity on our stages and in our operations, but we must also pledge to actively fight against racism and injustice.
In short, we must work toward creating real change in everything that we do. We will start our process with three, initial action steps: begin the discussion among our staff members and our Board of Overseers; implement important conversations with artists and with all users of the Annenberg Center; and listen and respond to the communities throughout Philadelphia that we serve .
As we work, we hope you will consider joining us by supporting some local organizations that are resources themselves or that provide resources to Black Philadelphians, some specifically based in or targeted to West Philadelphia, the neighborhood we are proud to call home.
- West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, an Annenberg Center partner that cultivates interest and support for the arts in West Philadelphia and runs the Paul Robeson House.
- The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation is working to help rebuild the 52nd Street commercial corridor, among other projects.
- Philadelphia Black Giving Circle is a grant-making organization that supports Black-led and Black-supporting nonprofit organizations.