US Department Of Arts & Culture Calls on Artists to Foster Compassion for Syrian Refugees
Artwork by Joel Bergner and Ali Kiwan with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za'atari Refugee Camp in partnership with aptART, ACTED, UNICEF and ECHO.
Dear Women in the Arts & Media Coalit,
WomenArts is proud to support the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture in the call posted below regarding the Syrian refugee crisis.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reported this year that the number of refugees world-wide is at the highest level ever - a staggering 59.5 million people worldwide have been forced to leave their homes due to wars, conflict and persecution. Women and girls are especially hard-hit because they are often the victims of rape and other violence both during the conflicts and afterwards in the refugee camps. Check out the latest blog from the Global Fund for Women for more information about women and the refugee crisis.
The USDAC Call To Artists and Creative Activists
The USDAC calls on all artists and creative activists to use our gifts for compassion and justice, sharing images, performances, experiences, writings, and other works of art that raise awareness, build connection, cultivate empathy, and inspire us to welcome those who are forced from homes that are no longer safe.
More than four million Syrians have been driven from their homes, becoming refugees. Although state governors hold no power to bar entry to the U.S., a short time after the acts of terrorism that took lives in Beirut and Paris, more than half have issued statements rejecting Syrian refugees within their borders. Polls have shown that many Americans oppose accepting Syrian refugees. Poll results from the 1930s and 1940s showed majority opposition to accepting German child refugees and Jews; and from the 1970s majority opposition to the admission of refugees from Southeast Asia.
Once again, we must ask:
Who are we as a people?
What do we stand for?
How do we want to be remembered?
As a culture of fear and isolation? Or as a culture that values every human life, extending love and compassion to newcomers needing refuge?
As a people-powered department, we honor the stories of those whose ancestors were brought here by force, those who sought refuge here, and those rooted on this land before others arrived. Together, we can choose to create a culture of belonging, welcoming new culture-bearers. Together, we can live up to the promise inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome….
We join together in affirming to all public officials and policymakers that a culture of fear and isolation cannot stand. We join together in applying our gifts to sustaining a culture of compassion and justice. We stand together with generations of creative activists in communities across the nation who have been envisioning and working toward a world of equity and belonging for all.
Signed by USDAC Cabinet Members:
Maribel Alvarez, Minister of Public Sentiment, Tucson, AZ
Valerie J. Amor, Cultural Agent, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Liliana Ashman, Story Hunter-Gatherer, New York, NY
Caron Atlas, Minister of Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts, Brooklyn, NY
Judy Baca, Minister of Sites of Public Memory, Venice, CA
Daniel Banks, Catalytic Agent, Santa Fe, NM
Jack Becker, Public Art Mobilizer, St. Paul, MN
Roberto Bedoya, Secretary of Belonging, Tucson, AZ
Ted Berger, Senior Policy Advisor, New York, NY
Ludovic Blain III, Chief Political Wonk, Berkeley, CA
Larry Bogad, Minister of Tactical Performance, Berkeley, CA
Eric Booth, Head Cheerleader for Teaching Artists, High Falls, NY
Amelia Brown, Minister of Emergency Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Sarah Browning, Minister of Poetry and Public Life, Washington, DC
Con Christesen, Cultural Agent, St. Louis, MO
Chrislene DeJean, Cultural Agent, Boston, MA
Maria De Leon, Minister of Inclusive Leadership Transformation, San Antonio, TX
Martha Diaz, Minister of HIp Hop Education, New York, NY
Jayeesha Dutta, Cultural Agent, New Orleans, LA
Dana Edell, Secretary of Creative Sparks, Brooklyn, NY
Hayden Gilbert, Cultural Agent, Cleveland, OH
Arlene Goldbard, Chief Policy Wonk, Lamy, NM
Beth Grossman, Cultural Agent, Brisbane, CA
Lynden Harris, Cultural Agent, Cedar Grove, NC
Mattice Haynes, Cultural Agent, Decatur, GA
Jon Henry, Cultural Agent, Harrisonburg, VA
Barry Hessenius, Minister of Nonprofit Arts Organizations, San Anselmo, CA
Bob Holman, Minister of Poetry and Language Protection, New York, NY
Adam Horowitz, Chief Instigator, Santa Fe, NM
Denise Johnson, Cultural Agent, Baltimore, MD
James Kass, Secretary of Belief in The Next Generation, San Francisco, CA
Paul Kuttner, Minister of Cultural Scholarship, Salt Lake City, UT
Dave Loewenstein, Cultural Agent, Lawrence, KS
Liz Maxwell, Chief Dot Connector, New York, NY
Angela Miles, Master of Swag, Philadelphia, PA
E. Ethelbert Miller, Minister of Sacred Words, Washington, DC