June 15 Policy & Action Review

Educate. Advocate. Organize.

These are the strategies that guide MASSCreative's work to interpret policy into action for a stronger and more equitable creative sector in Massachusetts. We hope you're finding your own way to educate, advocate, and organize during the current social and economic crisis brought on by both COVID-19 and police brutality and racial injustice. And during it all, MASSCreative is here to provide you with the policy advocacy and action updates needed to support equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector.

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

Every Friday from 9:45-10am, the MASSCreative team hosts our Virtual Policy & Action Updates. These 15-minute updates are meant to provide you with what you need to know about policy advocacy and actions you can take to support the creative community.

Check out MASSCreative’s June 12 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s June 19 Policy & Action Update

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Policy Update

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MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

Learn more in MASSCreative's Policy Update, including:

Elections and the Census

Arts Education and PreK-12 Reopening Plans

Paycheck Protection Program and Main Street Lending Program

Reopening Massachusetts: Phase 2, Step 1

H. 4755 An Act establishing a COVID-19 nonprofit cultural organizations emergency relief fund

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Action Update

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We are all being called to take individual and collective action to build a more equitable, just future. Here are some actions you can take advocate for cultural equity and lift up the creative community:

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Spotlight

We want to continue to use this space to highlight the work of MASSCreative Member Organizations and partners committed to racial equity. We want to thank and highlight the leaders doing the deep work to build anti-racist arts and culture organizations and advance cultural equity.

Marian Brown of Arts Connect International is one of those leaders. The new Cultural Equity Learning Community, created in partnership with The Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture and The Boston Foundation, was developed in the recognition that any discussion of equity within the arts and culture sector must acknowledge the long history of oppression, marginalization, and violence that shapes our society, and our institutions.

Read more in our Spotlight: Arts Connect International Promotes Cultural Equity

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Hope to see you on Friday, June 19 from 9:45-10am for our next Policy & Action Update.

If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updates, resources, advocacy, policy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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Arts Connect International Promotes Cultural Equity

In the arts and culture community, we often view the work we do as a tool for social change. And that is true; the arts have an incredible and unique capacity to connect our communities, change our minds, open our hearts, and share stories that have long gone untold. However, we must also recognize the myriad of ways that arts & cultural institutions perpetuate harm against marginalized communities, especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Unequal access to funding, space, and education; microaggressions and discriminatory behavior within work and creative spaces; a tendency to center whiteness instead of amplifying the voices of BIPOC creatives; these are some of the ways that the creative sector upholds racist structures within our institutions. To become true accomplices in anti-racist work, change must start from within. 

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June 15 Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state and federal policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. Here's the Policy Update from the last week:

Elections and the Census

MASSCreative joined the Safe Elections Network, guided by the Election Modernization Coalition in support of H.4768: An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19. The bill passed the Massachusetts House on June 4 and the coalition is hoping the Senate will take swift action on this bill and the Governor will sign to ensure elections that are accessible and safe. 

From our friends at Common Cause: "The legislation takes critical steps to promote ballot access and safety in the fall’s elections, by sending mail ballot applications for both the September 1 and November 3 elections to all registered voters, creating an online portal for mail ballot applications, expanding early voting, and providing safer in-person voting on election day."

In addition to safe elections, MASSCreative is working to increase representative democracy through a full and fair count on the 2020 Census. If you haven't had the chance to respond to the Census, the self-response phase has been extended through October 31 and can be filled out at my2020census.gov. Kudos to ArtsBoston and Creatives for the Count who are organizing artists, creatives, and cultural organizations to help get out the count.

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Action Alert: Support Relief for the Cultural Sector

Update: Testimony for this bill is now closed. We will update on the progress of the bill shortly.

MASSCreative encourages individuals and organizations to submit testimony in support of H.4755, An Act Establishing a COVID-19 Nonprofit Cultural Organizations Emergency Relief Fund

The Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development held a virtual hearing on bill H.4755 on Friday, June 12. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, testimony will only be accepted via email. 

H.4755, An Act Establishing a COVID-19 Nonprofit Cultural Organizations Emergency Relief Fund, filed by Rep. John Barrett III and Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, will create a relief fund that will be distributed to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations throughout the Commonwealth. The bill directs the Mass Cultural Council to create a grant program to distribute the funds.

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June 19 MASSCreative Virtual Policy & Action Update

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June 10 Policy & Action Review

We have reached a moment where going back to normal is not enough. As a statewide advocacy organization, MASSCreative encourages the creative community to reckon with the current social and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, racial injustice, and police brutality. We encourage the creative community to use its individual and collective resources to take action and build a more equitable, just future. 

We call on all creatives to reflect on the roles you play in the social change ecosystem. We encourage you to use your voice and your art to reach out to your elected officials and advocate for reform of our public health and justice systems. Allies and accomplices, we encourage you to use your resources to support, follow, and promote Black artists, and Black-founded and Black-run arts & culture organizations and creative businesses.

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

Last Friday, in response to worldwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd, the MASSCreative team changed up our weekly Policy & Action Update to help members of the creative community reflect on the roles they play in the social change ecosystem.

Check out MASSCreative’s June 5 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s June 12 Policy & Action Update

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What you can do

This week, we want to use this space to highlight the work of a few organizations that have used their time and resources over the past two weeks to amplify the anti-racist work we must collectively commit to.

Anti-Racism Resources from StageSource

Black Lives Matter Resource List from SpeakEasy Stage Company

Show Your Support from Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture Boston

Black Lives Matter from Elevated Thought

Cultural Equity Learning Community from Arts Connect International

Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform

Read more about these organizations and resources in our Spotlight: Supporting Black Communities and Voices

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Policy Update

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. 

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Learn more in MASSCreative's Policy Update, including three important developments from the past week:

Reopening Plan Enters Phase 2

Public Testimony on H.4743, 'An Act Assisting Non-profits To Provide for COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits'

H.4778, 'An Act Relative to Voting Options in Response to COVID-19' Passes House

Read more in MASSCreative's Policy Update


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Action Update

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We are all being called by the current social and economic crisis to take both individual and collective action to build a more equitable, just future. 

In the coming weeks, MASSCreative, in partnership with the Theater Offensive and MassVOTE, are relaunching the nonpartisan, public education campaign Create the Vote 2020 with a deeper focus to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy.

Sign up to receive insider updates on Create the Vote 2020

 

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Hope to see you on Friday, June 12 from 9:45-10am for our next Policy & Action Update.

If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updates, resources, advocacy, policy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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Spotlight: Supporting Black Communities and Voices

In the past week, we have seen a long overdue outpouring of support for the Black community--support that was rightfully prompted by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police. Anti-Blackness is a prejudice that pervades all aspects of life, including the arts and culture. If we are to truly stand as a creative community, we must be active in combating racism and uplifting the vibrant and irreplaceable work of our Black community members. So this week, we want use this space to highlight the work of a few organizations that have used their time and resources over the past two weeks to amplify the anti-racist work we must commit to. 

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June 10 Policy Update

 

MASSCreative continues to monitor and report on state policy that supports equitable communities and a stronger, more inclusive creative sector. Here are three important updates from the past week:

Reopening Plan Enters Phase 2

Over the weekend, Governor Baker announced Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan to officially begin Monday June 8th. Gov. Baker was clear that continued reopening progress will be dependent on public health data. Phase 2, which will last a minimum of three weeks, is set to occur in two parts. In the first part of Phase 2, people will be allowed to go into retail stores, and restaurants will be able to serve customers outside. Childcare facilities and day camps are allowed to reopen, as well. For sector-specific reopening protocols and practices, please visit Reopening: Sector-specific Protocols and Practices.

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June 12 MASSCreative Virtual Policy & Action Update

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What role are you playing?

Many people are struggling right now. Nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have left many of us feeling angry, exhausted, and sad. Experiencing this amid the catastrophic disruptions to our creative ecosystem by COVID-19 may feel overwhelming. 

That is why we’re writing to you today. Artists and creatives have always played a role in moving cultures forward and interpreting our individual and collective experiences with the world. We all have a role to play in building a more vibrant, connected, and equitable community. 

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Artists and Healing

Artists and creatives know how to use art to express conflicting emotions at once—anger, sadness, fear—in a way that can help us make sense of tragedy and injustice.

Last week, Minneapolis artists Xena Goldman, Greta McLain, and Cadex Herrera painted a mural on the outside of the convenience store Cup Foods at 38th & Chicago. It’s where George Floyd died after a white police officer, who has since been charged with murder, knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until Floyd stopped breathing. Video of the violence sparked rebellion and protest across the country this past weekend. 

Read more about the George Floyd memorial in the CityPages and StarTribune

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A role for each of us

There’s a role for each of us in rebuilding the world we inherited. What role will you and yours play?

‘Mapping Our Roles in Social Change Ecosystems’ is a framework and reflection guide, created by Deepa Iyer of Solidarity Is and Building Movement Project, to help individuals, organizations, and networks figure out their roles in pursuit of equity, shared liberation, inclusion, and justice.

On this chart, MASSCreative is a builder. That means we “develop, organize, and implement ideas, practices, people, and resources in service of a collection vision.” We often lean on the great playwright Tony Kushner to remind us why we’re here: “I am here to organize. I am here to be political. I am here to be a citizen in a pluralist democracy. I am here to be effective, to have agency, to make a claim on power, to spread it around, to rearrange it, to democratize it, to legislate it into justice. Why you? Because the world will end if you don’t act.”

Read more about Mapping our Social Change Roles in Times of Crisis

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What you can do

Never_Going_Back_Guide.pngIn the arts & culture community, we have reached a moment where going back to normal is not enough. We need to use this opportunity as a catalyst for change and take action to build a more equitable, just future. Here are some resources that we'd like to share with you.

Learn.

Talking About Race, from National Museum of African American History and Culture 

Talk about race with children.

Chalk the Walk, from Wee the People, a collaboration among the Philly Children’s Movement, MassArt's Center for Art and Community Partnerships, and Books for Littles: Raising Luminaries Kidlit

Use your art as your activism.

No Going Back: A COVID-19 Cultural Strategy Activation Guide, from The Center for Cultural Power

Engage and Donate.

Find the people and the organizations that speak to the role you want to play in the social change ecosystem. Follow them on social media, sign up for their action alerts, and engage in their activities. If you’re able, consider a donation in any amount to support their work.

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Arts Education: What you can do

The structural weaknesses in our school and justice systems have come into stark contrast because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arts education has long been a space where young people develop emotional, social and cognitive skills that better support overall development. In this unprecedented moment of a global health pandemic, access to arts education is critical for all students, regardless of zip code.

Right now, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and its Return-to-School Working Group are developing a K-12 summer and fall restart and recovery plan. Last week, the town of Brookline notified just over 300 district educators that they may not have jobs to return to next fall, including the district's librarians, art teachers, world language and physical education teachers.

DESE needs to hear from parents, teachers, and students that dedicated time for arts education is an important part of the school day, whether students are learning remotely at home or back at school in the fall.

Take action to advocate for arts education during COVID-19

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Virtual Policy & Action Updates

Every Friday from 9:45-10am, the MASSCreative team hosts our COVID-19 Virtual Policy & Action Updates. These 15-minute updates are meant to provide you with what you need to know about COVID-19 policy advocacy and actions you can take to support the creative community. On Friday June 5, we will depart from our usual format and use Deepa Iyer's "Mapping Our Social Change Roles" to help members of the creative community reflect on the roles they play in the social change ecosystem.

Check out MASSCreative’s May 29 Policy & Action Update

Register for MASSCreative’s June 5 Policy & Action Update

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Thank you to artists, arts organizations, culture workers, and creatives for playing many roles in the social change ecosystem. We need you and appreciate you.

If you’re looking for more COVID-19 resources, you can check out MASSCreative’s COVID-19 pages, including updatesresourcesadvocacypolicy recommendations, and policy & action updates.

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