I am writing today concerned for the safety of all of those who have spoken out about this issue of cultural appropriation. I am concerned about the cyber bullying, and threats of violence occurring in our community.It needs to be clarified that at no time did I receive threats of violence against the model or artist of the Doragon piece in Wearable Art 2018.Cultural appropriation is an extremely painful and difficult topic, and one that Juneau, as a community needs to address. Working through and learning about this together will be a positive outcome of this situation.
Going forward, as I hope we can all do together in a productive and civil manner:
- The Council will hold the first Community Conversation about cultural appropriation on Friday, March 9 (not on the 10th as initially planned) at 5:30 – 7 pm at the JACC. It will be a potluck and the conversations will be led by Kolene and Lyle James and Ati Nasiah. Please join me for this.
- We are assembling a resource page on our web site with links to information about cultural appropriation. There is much for all of us to learn on this topic, and I trust we will all take time to thoughtfully look at our own actions through this lens. It is in Juneau’s best interest to to care for each other and the wonderful multicultural diversity of our community.
- We will be working to develop guidelines for Wearable Art artists to help them bring their art work forward in a manner that frames it and its message clearly and sensitively.
Please refer to the Board of Trustees’ statement about the Doragon decision, sent earlier. For your information, the Board meets monthly, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 5 pm in the JAHC Gallery, most generally. The meetings are open to the public. Should you like to speak, let me know so that time is set aside for you on the agenda.
Thank all of you raising this issue up as one that needs to be addressed in our community. Let us do that together and with care for each other.