by Aaron Levy
Over the last 24 hours, acts of hate crime have traversed the United States, transforming civic landscapes and educational institutions – including the University of Pennsylvania, where we are based – into spaces of intimidation and fear. We deplore these disgusting acts and we call on the president-elect to denounce them. They are directly tied to his words and actions and have emboldened a culture of hate and the activities of groups like the Klan.
Fundamentally, this election has been about our capacity to show empathy and love for our fellow human beings. As an organization, we are committed to embodying these practices and enabling this capacity in others. Slought is thus deeply troubled and saddened by the responses of hatred that we've been seeing, hearing and experiencing in the greater Philadelphia region and across the country. We feel compelled to redouble our commitment to a culture of care.
In these dark times, there is a need for safe spaces and sanctuaries like Slought where people can come together to care for and reflect with one another, privately and publicly. We are committed to constructing this space and invite you to learn more about us through our upcoming programs, free and open to all. We urge individuals and institutions who are interested in working with us to help form a bulwark against the enduring legacy of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia in this country, and to stand in solidarity with those who have been harmed. Finally, we urge all institutions to resist the tendency to self-censor out of fear for the socio-political or financial consequences they may face.
In the coming weeks and months, staff and community at Slought will come together to strategically plan for the years ahead, both programmatically and institutionally. We remain committed to contesting policies that strip individuals of their freedoms and humanity, and to upholding the spirit of aesthetic and socio-political resistance we have always supported. We welcome your contributions and your voices throughout this process, and urge local funders and city officials to rise to the challenge and participate as well.
*This statement first appeared via email through "Slought Announcements" on November 12, 2016. It subsequently appeared on slought.org's "Advocacy Blog." Aaron Levy's statement is re-printed here with permission from the author.