We wish to express our support for Black Lives Matter and those who stand in solidarity across America, in the Netherlands, Belgium, other areas of Europe, and around the world. We align with those who have taken to the streets to protest racism and police brutality, and to call for action in light of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others.
As art historians, we see and understand the power of photography and video to capture the realities of the world in which we live, and to galvanize action against injustice. As a field, we speak up because we know that the images and histories that we study have been and still can be weaponized in the name of racist agendas. We are obliged to act because the way we examine and frame history affects the manner in which we perceive the present and envision the future. As James Baldwin once wrote, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
Going forward, we will seek to recognize racial and cultural inequity in our activities and deliberations, and to actively engage with mechanisms to improve our inclusivity as an organization. To that end, HNA’s board will form a diversity and inclusion sub-committee dedicated to addressing these issues and to leading the organization in new directions and toward expanded affiliations. We will be asking for your ideas, your energy, and your assistance in concrete ways over the months to come.
Please feel free to contact members of the Board directly, discuss these issues on our members’ message board, and let your voices and suggestions be heard across our social media platforms.
–on behalf of the HNA Board and editors of JHNA