WEBINARS AND VIRTUAL MEET UPS:
SEMC COVID STATEMENT, MARCH 2020
Dear SEMC members, supporters and friends,
As our nation confronts this period of unprecedented change and uncertainty, we want to assure you that one thing will not change: our support for museums and cultural sites across the southeast. In response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, Southeastern museums have taken immediate action to protect the health and well-being of their visitors, volunteers, and staff. Although museums throughout our region are shuttered, they continue to serve their communities. It is heartening to see SEMC member institutions facing this unparalleled emergency with swift reaction, creative thinking and unity. Although public safety is the highest priority, the Southeastern Museums Conference is also deeply concerned about the financial recovery of museums in the aftermath of this viral outbreak. There are more than five million Americans who make their livelihoods in the broader arts and cultural sector across the country and are potentially at risk. Our southeastern museum community must work together over these coming weeks and months to support and bolster one another.
Museums are frequently sites for contemplation and healing in difficult times and can continue to provide comfort, resilience, wisdom, and the means for self-expression and connection through a virtual presence. We will continue to share information from multiple resources, including the American Alliance of Museums as it becomes available. We also want to help promote your online programs, events, tours and other means of digital connection through our social media channels. Please send us links to share on Facebook and Instagram and continue to engage with your peers (questions, frustrations, tips for working remotely) on the SEMC Facebook page or the EMP or Mid-Career group pages.
As you focus on the health and safety of yourself and your families, please know that we are in this together, and that you can continue to rely on SEMC for information and connection. We will be with you each day of this crisis.
With gratitude for all you do,
Zinnia Willits, SEMC President, March 2020
BLACK LIVES MATTER
A MESSAGE FROM THE SEMC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
June 3, 2020
Over the past week many of us have been struggling to find words to express our outrage, grief and disbelief. The horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others make it clear that our nation continues to fail many of our fellow Americans as racial violence and systemic injustice against Black people continues. SEMC shares in the outpouring of grief and anger at the senseless loss of lives and stands in solidarity with those around the world appealing for an end to racism, inequality, brutality and fear.
Museums have a mission to tell the stories inherent in their collections. Our SEMC community must work together to amplify and strengthen the work of museums to combat institutional racism, injustice, and violence against people of color. The Southeastern Museums Conference exists to connect museum professionals and support our organizations. SEMC will provide space for our museum community to speak up, share what they are doing to affect change, and stand up as allies. By sharing, we can learn from one another, foster hope, and work together toward meaningful change.
I would like to draw your attention to the work of SEMC’s Equity and Inclusion Action Team and their powerful statement of solidarity. This dynamic, inclusive group provides resources and space for dialogue and
“seeks to break down actual and perceived barriers that inhibit access to our institutions, and guide our museums toward equitable practices for traditionally marginalized people including, but not limited to people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and differently-abled individuals.”
I encourage you to visit their site, get involved, and add your voice to the conversation.
SEMC Council and staff value inclusivity, honesty and genuine empathy and urge the SEMC community to take action to become better allies in the effort to dismantle systemic racism. SEMC will support this work with upcoming events and resources. We recognize—and are committed to engaging in—the vast amount of work to be done to build true equity.
Zinnia Willits, SEMC Executive Director