Art without context can cause harm. Remove excerpt from billboard immediately!
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On April 26, 2017, local Charlotte Affiliate WCCB's Wilson's World announced, "Adams Outdoor Advertising teamed up with CMS to show off the artwork of Charlotte students who were part of the Scholastic Gold Key awards for art and writing. Fifteen billboards are going up around town with artwork and excepts of writing from these award winners."
The SisterCARE Alliances appreciates these efforts to highlight our marvelous and brilliant students. We support arts education. We also recognize that words have power. Without proper context, words can cause harm. One excerpt from a poem in particular located at 3331 Monroe Road, reads:
"The poorer shades of Brown
and much more
We are concerned by the decision-making process in choosing and locating this particular stanza near a primarily poor and brown community. This is an unfortunate misstep. We are concerned by the impact these words (without context) have on the well-being of our total community.
We require that this excerpt be removed from the billboard and not re-posted on a billboard in this community effective immediately. We request that the full poem be made available for full appreciation and out of respect of the artist.
We ask the Leading on Opportunity Task Force, whose focus is on education, to take a stand and work with all entities (Adams Outdoor Advertising, NAMLA, and CMS) involved for diversity and inclusion education, training, and development in order to avoid future blind spots.
We ask CMS to consider reorganizing the responsibilities of the Director of the office of Diversity and Inclusion, including adding an additional FTE to their staff of one in order that the office is set up for success. We also ask the Communications and Art departments to follow up with the CMS Diversity and Inclusion office regarding their selection process in this particular matter and create a new plan for next year.
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