June 5, 2020
To our friends and neighbors,
The new illness of COVID-19 and the very old sickness of racism have hurt our nation and her people very badly. This hurt manifests itself as fear, anger, and incredible despair. We feel it too.
You are not alone. This is an historic time that challenges us all. Together we find ourselves in a national identity crisis, and the pain is profound. Systemic racism is entrenched in our national institutions and is not the fault of any one person. It was built, over time, through various frameworks which started long ago to oppress people of color. That means we all have a part to play in dismantling it.
We must be firm and active in the belief that the lives of people of color truly matter.
As trusted stewards of information, history museums must recognize how our words and actions influence understandings of the world. When people and institutions act in ways that hurt other people, even unknowingly, or prioritize one voice over another, our entire community is degraded. We have a heavy responsibility to look honestly at the past and be an active partner in creating an equitable and inclusive future for our entire community. We must choose to do what is right instead of what is easy. Indeed, this is hard and uncomfortable.
To begin, we have started to build a portion of our website to offers tools to talk about race and provide more information on our ongoing work. If you would like to join in this effort at the Museum, visit our Society Grows Great page.
The Museum is dedicated to being a place for everyone. We are here to help facilitate conversations, provide context and tools for solutions, and support you if you are hurting.
In our practice, the Brick Store Museum utilizes one tool of education more than any other: human empathy. It is one of the most powerful forces each of us wields. Imagine what we can do with that power if we vow to end injustice together so that our diverse community can share equally in our past, present and future.
Of course we cannot vanquish these problems with words. But a starting place is to perhaps remember that those who live with us in this same short moment of life are seeking nothing but the chance to be loved, needed and understood.
We are with you.