Dear Hammer Community—

The Hammer believes in the power of art in building a more just world. We also recognize that art alone will not foster the change that is so clearly needed in order to protect and cherish Black lives. We pledge to help to stop the senseless discrimination that pervades our society and to continue to highlight the Black artists, leaders, and activists who illuminate our world. We can’t ignore the effects that racism and police brutality have on our community. We saw it right outside our museum doors this week as protesters in Westwood exercised their right to free speech. And we are seeing it nationwide, even as peaceful protesters are attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets by police. We join these protesters in condemning the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others, and we ask the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti to do everything in his power to protect them while they fight for what is right. We ask that you, our public, do not forget that these demonstrations are about protecting Black lives. This week we are pausing our previously scheduled online talks, but will not be entirely silent. Instead we will use our platforms to highlight and amplify community-led organizations who are doing daily, on-the-ground anti-racist work. We encourage you to support these organizations, whether through donations, volunteering, or welcoming them into your spaces and communities. For those who cannot actively engage, we will be compiling a list of readings on Black history and anti-racist work of Black Americans and sharing through our social media channels in the coming days. This is one step, and we will take more. We are listening and reflecting on the racist structures inherent in all aspects of our society—including our cultural institutions.