Like so many, we have followed the events of the last several days, initiated by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, with heartsickness. The West Virginia Humanities Council believes in the power of the humanities to help create, sustain, and safeguard a truly just society. This is not the sort of work that must ever be thought of as “completed.” It requires ongoing reflection. It requires a daily rededication to examining our own words and actions, and to helping to lift up the voices of those whose stories, experiences, and lives have been silenced or ignored. It requires a firm commitment to advancing the cause of justice in the programs we offer and support.
The West Virginia Humanities Council, its Board, and its committees believe that working in the humanities necessarily involves opposing racist systems and actions, and the damage and violence to which they inexorably lead. To do otherwise would be to betray our mission and, much more harmfully, to betray ourselves and our fellow West Virginians whose health, safety, and very lives are directly imperiled by racism. The Council remains committed to supporting and partnering with projects, events, organizations, and programs that work to foster and sustain racial equality. The Council remains committed to seeking out, soliciting, and supporting people of color in candidacy for Board service and committee work. In all contexts, we are and will remain dedicated to an organizational culture in which the lives, stories, and experiences of people of color are respected, supported, and shared directly.