Happy Juneteenth!

June 19, 2021

Happy Juneteenth!

May 29, 2023

Juneteenth (June 19) is a holiday celebrating the 1865 emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Last night, sculptor Dana King’s 350 ancestral sculptures were unveiled as a new work of radically inclusive art in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park as conceived in concert with MEA alum Ben Davis called Monumental Reckoning.

I encourage you to watch the powerful 3-minute project video here. Monumental Reckoning shines a light on the delusion of white supremacy.

Representing the first Africans stolen from their homeland and sold into chattel slavery in 1619, these 350 ancestral sculptures will encircle the vacant plinth of the slaveholder Frances Scott Key which was partially toppled by protesters last Juneteenth. Creating a sweeping throughline from America’s original sin of 250 years of slavery, to the evolution and imposition of a brutal and pervasive color-based caste system, to this moment of racial reckoning across America.

Adjacent to this creative work of fearless examination, the universal beckoning of 'LIFT EVERY VOICE' will soon be installed above the historic Spreckels Temple of Music. This is in honor of the civil rights champion James Weldon Johnson, author of the de facto Black National Anthem 'Lift Every Voice and Sing’ as part of his 150th birthday which falls on Juneteenth this year and Monumental Reckoning’s true-telling of America’ history.

In tandem with the celebration of this important day and as requested by many of you who are curious about how MEA dedicates itself to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we offer you some MEA diversity data. We can always improve and intend to, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because we fundamentally believe that a diverse community is stronger.

With the guidance of Linda Grubbs, our head of diversity and inclusion, we are committing to a number of initiatives that will broaden MEA’s impact especially amongst black, indigenous, and other people of color. Feel free to write to us with your suggestions.

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