June 3, 2020
As more reports of racial inequity emerge every day, we cannot be silent. We must stand against injustice and especially systemic and institutional racism. Cultural institutions and museums like the Accokeek Foundation, many of which have been led by and have served primarily white audiences, have an urgent responsibility to expose the ways in which our complicated history has shaped not only our culture but also the systems that impact outcomes for each of us today.
Last week, we shared a video that featured Cate Sharper—a woman who was enslaved in Prince George’s County in the mid-18th century. The actual story of her life is largely a mystery to us, but the stories we tell in her honor on the National Colonial Farm are based on the real, lived experiences of many members of the enslaved population of the region.
The legacy of slavery in America is playing out today in the form of institutional and systemic racism. We can trace what is happening now directly back to the legacy of slavery and the trauma of past injustices. And while Cate’s story is one woman’s life in a larger narrative that spans generations, it illustrates the historical and cultural realities that can help us to understand how we got here today.
Cate Sharper, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and countless other Black people—we say their names because their lives matter. We share stories about the lives of people, as well as their interactions with one another and the earth, because we believe that bringing those stories to life can help to guide us to places of deeper understanding, change, and ultimately to reconciliation and healing.
The Accokeek Foundation commits to creating space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to share the truth, in their own voices, from their own perspectives. We believe that for transformation to happen, we need to listen and learn from the BIPOC community, and follow their lead in taking action to make real change.
We are committed to collaborating for social change and addressing inequity wherever it occurs. We seek to be a safe and open space where people of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation, gender identity, beliefs, religions, faiths and ideologies, cultures, backgrounds, and abilities can come together to embrace difficult conversations, honor one another and our stories, and work toward a more just world.
Join the conversation. Catch up on the Accokeek Foundation’s “Land and River Conversations: Exploring Race and Culture through Stories of the Earth” panel series from 2019.