Systemic Racism and Recent Violence – A Statement from the Board

We stand in solidarity with those who demand change in the fight against the systemic racism that has been perpetrated against people of color throughout the history of this nation. We will not remain silent while people of color suffer disproportionately and brutally at the hands of our prejudiced criminal justice system. We too must take responsibility for the part we have played within this system of oppression. Systemic racism, which has permeated every aspect of life for people of color, will not end until the intentional and long-standing inequity in housing, healthcare, education, economic and political power is rectified. The daily violence against people who are black and the resulting widespread protests against this violence has created a palpable sense of urgency in this work.

One year ago, we, as an organization, began to focus on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization across leadership and membership. We began by participating in a program offered through Nonprofit Enterprise at Work called Champions for Change. The Champions for Change program works to build capacity for racial equity leadership in Washtenaw County. As a result, we are now making fundamental changes to our organization. In this work, we found that our name, Ann Arbor Women Artists, is a barrier not only to diversifying our membership but also in collaboratively working with other nonprofits. We are in the process of changing our name and have rewritten our values to emphasize these goals. 

We are creating proactive policies to engage with local nonprofits and communities to increase diversity within our membership and developing new programs such as a mentorship program to assure we are meeting the needs of all our members in an equitable manner. This is a beginning – we have much to learn and more to do.

We, as a nonprofit, have a responsibility to and are working to assure all members feel welcome, heard, and supported. We have created new opportunities to bring members together to form new friendships, to share perspectives, and to start new collaborations.

We are committed to assuring our values – diversity, equity and inclusion – permeate every aspect of our work. They will be kept at the forefront in our teaching, learning, creating, innovating and collaborating in the fight against systemic racism.

Our Values

Personal honesty, integrity and respect in our work as a board, membership, and community members

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, membership, and community engagement

Passion for teaching, learning, creativity, innovation, and sharing

Collaborative community approach connecting members and collaborating