Monday, August 25, 2014

DRAWING THE LINE: Artists & Writers in Solidarity with Ferguson

Protesters autograph a sketch of Michael Brown during a protest on August 18, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia. Image via
Artists and writers give unconditional support to protesters in Ferguson, MO

Editorial statement published August 19, 2014 on

On Saturday, August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri (just outside St. Louis), Michael Brown, an unarmed eight-teen year old African American man, was shot and killed by the police. His body was left on the street for more than four hours as riot police were called to the scene.

In the following days thousands of people have protested the latest summary execution of an unarmed Black man. They have been met with police brutality and repression, resulting in dozens of arrests, including the arrests of two reporters and a police assault on one St. Louis city alderman.

The apologists for racism attempted to use the justified and understandable outrage of those who burned a local convenience store to obscure the real criminals in Ferguson: police and politicians who treat the town’s Black citizens like colonial subjects; occupied by military force.

The apologists for racism have aimed to obscure the ongoing wounds being inflicted on working-class and poor African Americans by pretending this is all a misunderstanding; a hangover from days long gone. It is not. These are not merely old wounds. These are new wounds. The wounding has never stopped.

We are artists and writers who, without equivocation of any kind, condemn the police murder of Michael Brown and unconditionally support all the protesters of Ferguson and the St. Louis metro area.

We believe that:

1. The reported murders of African Americans, Latinxs* and other people of color, as seen in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Israel Hernandez in Florida and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, are just the most shocking and visible signs of a campaign of systematic harassment and violence.

2. This is connected to wider ongoing official racism directed against African Americans, Latinxs and other people of color. This can be seen, for example, in the campaign of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to shut down public schools in Black and Latinx* neighborhoods.

3. It is connected to the institutional racism that permeates every aspect of society. African Americans experience higher unemployment, higher interest rates, higher incarceration rates, worse health care outcomes, etc. than whites. This is NOT due to personal or moral failures on the part of African Americans. It is the product of the racism of white Americans, politicians, and ruling elites.

4. The people of Ferguson have a right to resist police murder and repression by “any means necessary.”

5. Liberal calls for “peace and unity” in the St. Louis metro area are a mirage. There can be no peace without justice. The status quo is not peace. The status quo is a war on Black men and women.

Artists, musicians and writers have a responsibility to stand squarely with the protesters and rebels of Ferguson, Missouri. Art is an empathetic enterprise. We cannot, in good conscience, make art or write about art and ignore what is happening. We promise to stand, however we can, with the people of Ferguson. We encourage all others to do the same.

No justice, no peace.**

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir artist, professor of art, Southern Illinois University***, Carbondale, Illinois
Samuel Ace poet, Tucson, Arizona
Kelly Ahrens artist, Illinois

Mike Alewitz muralist, associate professor, Central Connecticut State University

Jessica Allee graduate student, art history, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Criage Althage transwoman artst and library specialist, Chicago, Illinois
Mike Anderson web developer and designer, Herndon, Virginia
Husni Ashiku artist and filmmaker, Chicago, Illinois
Aliki Barnstone poet, professor of English and Creative Writing, University of Missouri
Crystal Stella Becerril writer, editor, Red Wedge magazine, Chicago, Illinois
BESKONISTe’ art group, Dallas, Texas
Alexander Billet music journalist and editor at Red Wedge magazine, Chicago, Illinois
Robin Blackburn writer, musician, dancer, human, San Marcos, Texas
Lakeetha Blakeney actor, singer, writer, rebel, St. Louis, Missouri
Ken Boe artist and poet, Bisbee, Arizona
Benjamin Bormann poet and producer, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jesaka Brooks-Ausler printmaker, Carbondale, Illinois
Madeline Burrows actor, Boston, Massachusetts
Edmond Caldwell writer, Boston, Massachusetts
J. Matthew Camp labor activist, writer, Chicago, Illinois
Terre Chartrand playwright, digital media artist, theatre, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
David Cochran historian and professor, John A. Logan College, Illinois
Matthew Conley poet, arts administrator, Tucson, Arizona
Neil Davidson author and lecturer, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Domingo Dávila artist, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ricardo De Lima artist, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Ian Deleón performance artist, Boston, Massachusetts
Najee Dorsey CEO, founder of Black Art In America, visual artist, Columbus, Georgia
Timothy R. Dougherty writer, teacher, songwriter, Phoenixville, PA
Hal Duncan Glasgow, Scotland
Laura Durkay writer and filmmaker, New York City
Chad Eagleton writer, editor, photographer, Bloomington, Indiana
Andrew Friend documentary filmmaker, Chicago, Illinois
Monica Hand poet, Columbia, Missouri
John Halle director of Studies in Music Theory and Practice, Bard Conservatory, New York
Joe Hassert poet and instructor, College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada
Serena Himmelfarb artist, Chicago, Illinois
Danny Hoey writer and professor, Florida
Ernest Hogan artist and writer, Chicago, Illinois
Ron Jacobs writer and library worker, Burlington, Vermont
Lamar Jorden artist, educator, Chicago, Illinois
Trish Kahle writer and historian, Chicago, Illinois
Jyotsna Kapur professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Robin D.G. Kelley historian, professor of American History, UCLA, Los Angeles, California
Chintia Kirana artist, Illinois
Wago Kreider artist, professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Nicolas Lampert artist, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
John Landry poet, San José, California
Morgan Larson performance artist and educator, Dallas, Texas
Sarah Lewison artist, professor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Matthew Limb art historian, writer, graduate student, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Mike Linaweaver poet, founder/editor, Strike magazine, Corpus Christi, Texas
Melanie Madden writer and editor, Tucson, Arizona
Brandon Meyers web-comic artist, Denver, Colorado
H.D. Motyl mediamaker, Carbondale, Illinois
Paul Mullan writer, Houston, Texas
Frances Madeson writer, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nick Mamatas novelist, Berkeley, California
Nichole Nicholson performance artist, Puyallup, Washington
Boyd Nielson poet, Boston, Massachusetts
Robert Niemi professor of English and American Studies, St. Michael’s College, Vermont
Keegan O’Brien Boston, Massachusetts
Jerry Pendergast poet, Chicago, Illinois
Jason Pramas artist and assistant professor of Communications, Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Bob Quellos architect, Chicago, Illinois
Octavio Quintanilla poet and professor, Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas
Joseph G. Ramsey educator, scholar, & writer, Boston, MA
Rebel Diaz hip-hop artists, Bronx, New York and Chicago, Illinois
Angela Reinoehl art history instructor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Boots Riley hip-hop artist and political organizer, Oakland, California
Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez theater artist, Chicago, Illinois
Dave Roediger professor, University of Kansas
Craig Ross artist, cartoonist, printmaker, maintenance worker, Herrin, Illinois
Katy Rubin director and facilitator, Theatre of the Oppressed, New York City
Van T. Rudd visual artist and social justice activist, Australia
Alexandra Rumsey artist, Louisville, Kentucky
Jacob Russell poet, novelist, & visual artist, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
J.D. Samson artist, Brooklyn, New York
Brit Schulte writer, editor at Red Wedge magazine, Chicago, Illinois
Eric Lyle Schultz artist, graduate student, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
Matt Schultz artist and professor, Springfield, Illinois
Jase Short writer, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Nikeeta Slade writer, editor at Red Wedge magazine, Syracuse, New York
Damian “Slimm Goines” Smith hip-hop artist, Washington, DC
John Snowden filmmaker, Chicago, Illinois
Alan L. Stewart writer and activist, Bremerton, Washington
T.C. Tolbert poet, arts administrator, Tucson, Arizona
Joe Torrence artist, Omaha, Nebraska
Anna Maria Tucker artist, St. Louis, Missouri
Adam Turl artist, writer and editor at Red Wedge magazine, graduate student, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
Bentley Utgaard artist, Kentucky
Richard Wallace a.k.a. Epic of BBU, Chicago, Illinois
Benjamin Whitmer writer, Denver Colorado
Danielle Williamson filmmaker and media artist, Santa Cruz, California

*the “x” in Latinxs indicates that we are inclusive of trans individuals and individuals of all gender expressions.

**to sign on e-mail

***organizations or institutions listed for identification only.

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