Race Forward Says Removal of Puerto Rican Protest Art at Conference Is Censorship

Nov 8, 2018
7:54 pm

On Thursday afternoon, Race Forward released the following statement about a piece of art being removed from Facing Race conference:

We at Race Forward are deeply committed to advance narratives that center the voices and stories of people of color through art and culture. The Facing Race conference will continue to be a forum that helps us to imagine and build a just multiracial society.

We became aware this morning that an art piece presented by the organizers of the AgitArte exhibition was taken down. The art was not removed at our request, and we condemn this act of censorship. We are working now to ensure that this work of art continues to be prominently placed for all of our conference attendees to see and engage with. We will also revise our policies and contracts with our conference and event venues, so that this type of censorship does not occur again.

The art that was taken down elevates the plight of people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and the abject and intentionally negligent response by the U.S. government, namely FEMA and the U.S. Military. We strongly believe in the power of art to catalyze conversations about the needs of the most disenfranchised and marginalized communities.

We thank our partners at AgitArte for bringing this matter to our attention, and for their fearless and revolutionary art that inspires thought, heart and action.

***

Earlier on Thursday, AgitArte posted this on its Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Yesterday #cobocenterdetroit staff censored one of our posters. Folks from @raceforward were proactive in addressing this to Cobo staff, and coming up with ways to turn this into a conversation at the conference and highlight the work. They stand in full solidarity with us and we share their statement regarding the incident: Race Forward AgitArte Statement at #FacingRace We at Race Forward are deeply committed to advance narratives that center the voices and stories of people of color through art and culture. The Facing Race conference will continue to be a forum that helps us to imagine and build a just multiracial society. We became aware this morning that the art presented by the organizers of the @AgitArt Art Exhibition was taken down by #CoboCenter staff. The art was not removed at our request, and we condemn this action of censorship. We are working now to ensure that this work of art continues to be prominently placed for all of our conference attendees to see and engage with. We will also revise our policies and contracts with our conference and event venues, so that this type of censorship does not occur again. The art that was taken down elevates the plight of people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and the abject and intentionally negligent response by the U.S. government, namely FEMA and the U.S. Military. We strongly believe in the power of art to catalyze conversations about the needs of the most disenfranchised and marginalized communities. We thank our partners at AgitArte for bringing this matter to our attention, and for their fearless and revolutionary art that inspires thought, heart and action. (This mashup of the original AgitArte artwork is by @dibujoalinea , our response to Cobo’s censorship) #facingrace2018 #facingrace

A post shared by AgitArte (@agitarte_cultural_works) on

 

***

Attendees at the Facing Race conference have also begun to share news about the piece of art:

 

email