Over 200+ Chicago Artists & Educators Stand in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

November 25, 2015

Chicago, IL — On November 24, 2015, a white, male Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black youth. This arrest came just hours before the city released a chilling video from October 2014 showing Officer Van Dyke shooting the teenager, even after McDonald lay still on the ground. This is the first time in decades an on-duty police officer in Chicago has been charged with murder.

The video is horrifying. Laquan McDonald is shot 16 times, with most shots fired after McDonald is already on the ground. This reckless act of violence is unsurprising to the many who experience direct, relentless violence at the hands of the police on a daily basis.

As part of a broader conversation, we the undersigned — Chicago area artists and educators — release this collective statement to catapult conversations on police brutality and racial justice to the forefront of our lives. Laquan McDonald’s death elicits anguish. As Chicagoans, we are outraged. When Laquan was killed, he was a teenager, a high-schooler, not unlike many of our students, collaborators, youth leaders, partners, friends, and family members. As a community we have lost so many of our students to violence, often racially-charged and institutionally entrenched. The impact of this continued, collective violence against our city’s communities of color is immeasurable and intolerable.

We the undersigned want to make it clear that we stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its message: that Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with youth activists in our city who are on the front lines advocating for change. We stand in solidarity with families and communities fighting for justice and peace in our public spaces and private lives. We affirm that solidarity requires action and accountability, and without it, we simply perpetuate hateful legacies of overt and covert oppression. We will not be silent.

We can not turn away from these injustices in our classrooms, community centers, museums and learning spaces throughout the city. Nor can these injustices be forgotten in our theaters, galleries, performance venues, studios and shared artistic spaces. We acknowledge our collective power as educators and artists to transform lives and vow to seize this present historical moment to stand in solidarity with youth and activists in our city fighting for true justice, racial consciousness, and community transformation. We will not be silent.

  1. Amanda Lichtenstein, Kortney Morrow, Sarah Kokernot, Abi Humber and Kendra Curry-Khanna, 826CHI
  2. Caroline O’Boyle, Executive Director & Coya Paz, Artistic Director of Free Street Theater
  3. Amanda Delheimer Dimond, Lauren Sivak, and Megan Stielstra, 2nd Story
  4. Joanne Vena, Changing Worlds
  5. Amy Rasmussen, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
  6. Carolyn Hoerdemann, Independent Theater Artist
  7. Ernest Sanders, COMEUNITY Based Solutions
  8. Dawn Marie Galtieri, Voice of the City
  9. Sadira Muhammad, Afro-Ethnic Folklorico, West Indian Dance Theater Company
  10. Tiffanie Beatty, Spoken Word Artist
  11. David Flatley, Center for Community Arts Partnerships
  12. Maia Morgan, Writer and Teaching Artist, Urban Gateways and Project AIM
  13. Arnold Aprill, Radical Compliance Arts and Learning Laboratory
  14. Steven McClain
  15. Eiren Caffall, Writer, Teaching Artist, and Educational Consultant
  16. For Youth Inquiry (FYI), Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health
  17. Germania Solorzano, Writer and Teacher
  18. Cynthia Weiss, Artist and Educator
  19. William Estrada, Artist and Educator
  20. Lea Pinsky, Director of Education and Outreach at Art Encounter
  21. Corinne Rose, Arts Education Consultant
  22. Tara Betts, Author and Professor
  23. Irina Zadov, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum & Chicago Home Theater Festival
  24. David Welch, Writer and Teacher
  25. Sarah Meltzer, Writer
  26. Arturo Soria, Actor and Teaching Artist
  27. Riley Johnson, Executive Director of RAD Remedy
  28. Kathryn Humphreys, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  29. Anita Olivia Koester, Poet and Photographer
  30. Holly Amos, Poet and Co-curator of The Dollhouse Reading Series
  31. Diana Stezalski, Independent Artist
  32. Naomi Huffman, Curbside Splendor Publishing and Featherproof Books
  33. Tanuja Jagernauth, Writer, Owner, and Co-Founder, Sage Community Health Collective
  34. Maggie Queeney, Writer and Educator
  35. James Tadd Adcox
  36. Judy Gall, Executive Director of Alternatives, Inc.
  37. Ryan Collins, Writer and Educator
  38. Laura Samson
  39. Alyssa Sorresso, Writer and Performer, Manager Project AIM/TAD Studio at CCAP
  40. Christopher Smith, Independent Arts Administrator
  41. Jeff McCarter, Free Spirit Media
  42. Matt Rowan, Teacher and Writer
  43. Barrie Jean Borich, Editor of Slag Glass City
  44. Jeffreen Hayes, Threewalls
  45. Kimberly Richards
  46. Genevieve Waller, Writer, Teaching Artist and Founder of Crooked Door Storytelling
  47. Amy Eaton, Independent Artist, Founder Mudlark Theater Company
  48. Jill LeCesne Potter, Urban Gateways
  49. Karen Benita Reyes and Kathlene Powers, ArtReach at Lillstreet
  50. Nicole Marroquin, Associate Professor, Art Educator, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  51. Lauren Emily Whalen, Writer
  52. Ozivell Ecford, OziLamont Photography and Media Solutions and O.Z Bangaz Music
  53. Suree Towfighnia, Documentary Filmmaker and Educator
  54. Rebecca Kling, Performance Artist and Educator
  55. Reuben Cruz, Writer and Youth Educator
  56. Latham Zearfoss, Artist and Educator
  57. Sage Morgan-Hubbard
  58. Rachel Hauben Combs
  59. Rebecca Hunter, Executive Director, Young Chicago Authors
  60. Elizabeth Metzger Sampson, Executive Director, Poetry Center of Chicago
  61. Molly Brennan
  62. Polly Mills, Writer and Teacher
  63. Cheryl Pope, Just yell / poetry as self defense
  64. Mark Diaz, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
  65. Craig Harshaw, Insight Arts
  66. Fatimah Asghar, Poet and Performer
  67. Shannon Huneryager, Independent Artist
  68. Liz Parrott Radzicki, Arts Educator with CCAP
  69. Elizabeth Rice, Education Programs Associate, Goodman Theatre
  70. Brighid O’Shaughnessy, Founder/Artistic Director, Erasing the Distance
  71. Chris Silva, Artist and Educator
  72. Ruben Quesada, Assistant Professor, Eastern Illinois University
  73. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, Chicago Dance Supply
  74. Nell Taylor, Executive Director, Read/Write Library
  75. Malic White, the Neo-Futurists
  76. Mikalina Rabinsky, theater teacher and director
  77. Drea Howenstein, Associate Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, artist & educator
  78. Ciara Miller, Hampton School of Fine Arts through Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Dewey Elementary through After School All Stars, Esmond Elementary through Urban Initiatives
  79. Nicole Beck, Lead Teaching Artist, Independent Contractor with Urban Gateways and CPS
  80. James Jankowiak, Artist & Educator
  81. David Feiner, Jennifer Merriman, Stephanie Paul, Maggie Popadiak, Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, Albany Park Theater Project
  82. Eric Reyes, Raise Your Hand
  83. Isabelle Collazo, Dance Artist and Educator
  84. Andrew Burden Swanson, Theatre Artist, Community Engagement Director, Jackalope Theatre
  85. Maribeth Joy, Executive Director, CircEsteem, The Chicago Youth Circus
  86. Brian Kornell
  87. Kristin Patton, Ensemble Consulting
  88. Rashida Phillips, Artist and Educator
  89. Rebecca Zorach, Professor, Northwestern University
  90. Susanna Hostetter, Teaching Artist in Dance
  91. Bobby Biedrzycki, Columbia College and Goodman Ed
  92. Angelique Boyd, Independent Teacher
  93. Paul Teruel, Center for Community Arts Partnerships
  94. Lindsay Hopkins, Independent Artist and Teaching Artist with Silk Road Rising
  95. Katie Collins, Student Engagement Manager, Center for Community Arts Partnerships
  96. Ramona Gupta, Asian American Cultural Affairs, Columbia College Chicago
  97. Michele Morano, Writer and Teacher
  98. Alice George, Writer/Artist & Teaching Artist, Columbia College Chicago (Project AIM)
  99. Ames Hawkins, Educator/Art Activist/Transgenre Writer; Co-Host Masters of Text podcast
  100. Lisa Biggs, Performing Artist and Assistant Professor, Michigan State University
  101. Sam Bailey, Writer/Filmmaker
  102. K. Hannah Friedman, Writer and Director
  103. Sarah Atlas, Educator and Artist
  104. Hilesh Patel, Artist and Educator
  105. Nathan Hoks, Poet and Lecturer, University of Chicago
  106. Ira S. Murfin, Theatre Artist/Writer and Doctoral Candidate, Northwestern University
  107. Tekki Lomnicki, Artistic Director, Tellin’ Tales Theatre
  108. Jeremy Owens, Writer, You’re Being Ridiculous
  109. Christopher Salveter, musician and visual artist
  110. Laura Nessler, Writer, 20% Theatre Chicago
  111. Emmy Bean, Musician and Teaching Artist
  112. Jacob Watson, Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago
  113. Jamie Topper, Artist and Educator
  114. Lott Hill and Dia Penning, Learners at the Center
  115. morgan mcnaught playwright/actor
  116. Erin Flynn, Teaching Artist, Program Manager of Children’s Music, Old Town School of Folk Music; puppeteer/producer How Do We Sing?
  117. Digital Youth Network
  118. John Rich, Writer and Performer
  119. Natalia Smirnov, Youth Media Educator and PhD Student, Northwestern University
  120. Stephanie Anderson, Writer, Teacher, Editor of Projective Industries
  121. Christine Johnson, Educator
  122. Lara Pruitt, Education Consultant
  123. Tony Fitzpatrick
  124. Alyssa Vera Ramos, Theatre & Teaching Artist, For Youth Inquiry, FEMelanin
  125. Victor David Giron, Curbside Splendor Publishing
  126. Asif Wilson
  127. Lorelei Stewart, Gallery 400 at UIC
  128. Guillermo Delgado, Academic Specialist, Community and Socially Engaged Arts, Residential College in the Art and Humanities, Michigan State University
  129. Elizabeth Johnson, Columbia College Center for Community Arts Partnerships, Hubbard Street Dance
  130. Isaac Gomez, Literary Manager, Victory Gardens Theater
  131. Chay Yew, Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theater
  132. Sarah Goeden, Artist and Educator
  133. Libby Lai-Bun Chiu
  134. Rick Graham, Artist/Educator
  135. Crystle Dino, Visual and Performance Artist
  136. Deanalís Resto, Brandi Lee, Maya Mackrandilal, Enid Muñoz, Alyssa Vera Ramos, Guadalís Del Carmen, Brooklyn Sabino Smith, Mariana Green, FEMelanin
  137. Monty Cole, Victory Gardens Theater
  138. Anna Rose Epstein, artistic director with Nothing Without a Company
  139. ElevArte Community Studio
  140. Wendy Katten, Executive Director, Raise Your Hand for IL Public Education
  141. Tatiana M. Uhoch, Educator and Writer
  142. Lindsey Barlag Thornton, Interdisciplinary Artist & Teaching Artist (ChiArts/MCA)
  143. Ray Yang, Artist and Educator
  144. Molly Roth Scranton, Artist and Administrator
  145. Sarah Beth Woods, Multidisciplinary Artist and Educator
  146. Sarah Ross, Director, Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project
  147. Michael Robert Pollard, Artist, parent , SAIC Employee
  148. Bonsai Bermudez- Executive and Artistic Director of Youth Empowerment Performance Project (YEPP)
  149. Maria Gaspar, Founder/Director, The 96 Acres Project
  150. Toby Altman
  151. Juan Martinez, writer and professor
  152. Regin Igloria, Artist & Educator, North Branch Projects
  153. Rachael Hudak, Administrative Director, NYU Prison Education Program
  154. Sarah Hollenbeck, Women & Children First
  155. Shawn Renee Lent, social practice dance artist and manager, U.S. Fulbright Scholar
  156. Mohamed Radwan, cinematographer and artist activist
  157. Rachel Damon, dance artist, designer, Director of Synapse Arts
  158. Clare Tallon Ruen, dancer, educator, parent
  159. Yesenia Maldonado, Executive Director, Between Friends
  160. Marissa Reyes, Educator and Arts Administrator
  161. Joseph Schupbach (Artistic Director), Elizabeth Levy (Program Director), Corinne Neal (Executive Director), Barrel of Monkeys Productions
  162. Nikki Patin, Executive Director, Surviving the Mic
  163. Adriana Díaz
  164. Patricia Nguyen, Ph.D. Candidate Performance Studies, Northwestern University
  165. Hallie Gordon, Director
  166. Kamilah Rashied, Assistant Director of Community Programs at the Art Institute of Chicago
  167. Robert Smith III, Assistant Curator of Education, The Art Institute of Chicago
  168. Claire K. Redfield, Teaching Artist, Director, Lookingglass Theatre
  169. Marie Casimir, Associate Director, Links Hall
  170. Erika Valenciana, Teaching Artist
  171. Jennifer Steele, Poet & Educator
  172. Justin Staley, Writer and Teacher
  173. Esther Grisham Grimm, Jeanna Rathell, and Sara Slawnik from 3Arts
  174. Ryan Keesling, Founder & Executive Director, Free Write Arts & Literacya
  175. Megan Shuchman, Education Director for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Steppenwolf Theatre
  176. Jared Bellot, Education Assistant for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Steppenwolf Theatre
  177. Nicholas Ward, Co-Director of Education, 2nd Story
  178. Kiana Harris, Publicity Manager, Goodman Theatre
  179. Rachel L. S. Harper, Artist & Educator, DePaul University and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  180. Shelby Critchett, Educator & Artist
  181. Lungelo Kuzwayo, drama/theatre teaching artist, film writer and director, college professor
  182. Esther Lee, Educator
  183. Jamie Lou Thome, Teaching Artist, Adjunct Faculty, parent, and activist
  184. Christy LeMaster, Director, The Nightingale, & Adjunct Faculty, Columbia College Chicago
  185. Martha Bayne, editor in chief, Belt Magazine; freelance writer and editor
  186. Kristen Smiley Hansel, Assistant Director of Educational Programming: Auditorium Theatre
  187. Ronen Kohn, musician, Time Crash
  188. Rachel Staelens, Freelance theatre artist and Production Manager: Chicago Fringe Festival
  189. Imani Watson, Administrative Director of the Professional Theatre and Dance Youth Academy (PTDYA)
  190. Melissa Jay Craig, Independent Visual Artist and Educator
  191. Haydee Souffrant, Writer, Performer and Arts Administrator, Columbia College Chicago
  192. Lindsay Muscato, Writer and Producer
  193. Devon Dorenzo, National Youth Pride Services Chicago board treasurer Midwest region, sexual Health educator, and About face theater alumn
  194. Manwah Lee, Executive Director, Street-Level Youth Media
  195. Tara Branham, Freelance Director, Casting Director — Pegasus Theatre & Step Up Productions
  196. Jessamyn Fitzpatrick, Actor and Educator
  197. Angela Tillges, public educator and artist
  198. Kelsey Greene, media artist and educator
  199. Paul Escriva, Interdisciplinary Artist and Educator
  200. Denise Santina Ruiz, mentor, educator, artist, Madre de Perla Designs
  201. Kelly Reed, Drama Therapist & Company Member at 2nd Story
  202. Glenna Sullivan, Educator
  203. Jackie Roche, cartoonist, illustrator, and writer
  204. H Rakes, educator
  205. Elizabeth Bagby, writer and performer
  206. Fred Pelzer, writer and director
  207. Robert L. Kendrick, Professor, Dept of Music, Univ of Chicago
  208. Monica Trinidad, Co-Founder of Brown & Proud Press and For the People Artists Collective
  209. Aileen McGroddy, Freelance Theater Artist and Co-Founder of the Whiskey Rebellion Theatre
  210. Lauren Deutsch, Artist! Administrator
  211. Dr Rita Pal Medical Journalist UK
  212. Galen Beebe, writer and educator
  213. Mark Yoshizumi, artist and educator
  214. Mike Simons, Executive Director, Intonation Music
  215. Roger Bonair-Agard, Director of Creative Writing Free Write Arts and Literacy
  216. Miguel Aguilar, artist and educator
  217. Mark Messing, Opera-Matic
  218. Jason Sommer, editor-in-chief, Featherproof Books
  219. Tim Kinsella, Publisher, Featherproof Books, Joan of Arc Band
  220. Sam Dyson, Director, Mozilla Hive Chicago Learning Network
  221. Robert Friedman, Portfolio Strategist, Mozilla Hive Chicago Learning Network
  222. If this statement resonates with you and/or your organization, you can continue to add your name to the Statement of Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter.