Our Anti-racist Stance
ImageOut’s mission is to present LGBTQ+ arts and cultural experiences showcasing films, other creative works and artists to promote awareness, foster dialogue and build community. We stand for freedom of expression, accessibility, diversity, artistic quality, and are dedicated to cultivating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
What we have not previously committed to, however, is an actively anti-racist stance, and we recognize the harm that our lack of activism and solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters has caused. We acknowledge the countless injustices that the Black community face everyday. We recognize the national and local trauma that has occurred–the recent deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012; the unrest in Ferguson after the death of Michael Brown in 2014; the arrests that occurred at the 2016 Rochester at a Black Lives Matter protest in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile while in police custody. We acknowledge that our delayed response is part of the problem.
We also acknowledge that ImageOut has benefited from the systems of white supremacy, even while our own rights as LGBTQ+ people have benefited from the advocacy and activism of many Black LGBTQ+ Americans. We pledge to research and dismantle our participation in white supremacist culture.
We support equality. We defend the right for people to protest. We believe that law enforcement can do better, and we can do better. We offer our solidarity.
Our Action Items
And we recognize that words are not enough. Here are some actions the board of directors for ImageOut is committing to right now, which will expand over time:
- We are—as an organization and as individuals—making a financial donation to Rochester Black Pride, and we encourage all of our members and friends to do so as well. Here’s how: https://www.rocblackpride.com/getinvolved
- We commit to divesting from organizations and systems built on racism and white supremacy.
- We will participate in anti-racist training with the full board and our volunteer community, and expand our board and volunteer pool to include more people from the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
- We will examine our Mission, Vision and Values statements and include a pledge to anti-racism.
- We will expand our partnerships with and purchases from Black Owned Businesses here in Rochester. Here’s a list we’ll start with: http://www.bobrochester.com
- We will include a land acknowledgement on our website and in our program materials, and when appropriate, promote and amplify the voices of Indigenous Two Spirit and LGBT projects and organizations.
- We will seek to amplify Black and Brown voices within our community, including the programming of more BIPOC artists in the festival, ImageOut Art and ImageOut Write, as well as our ancillary programming.
ImageOut promises to be an active partner in the fight against racism, and we ask you to hold us accountable. If you see how we can do better, we ask you to reach out to any member of the ImageOut Board.