We, the board and staff of Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center, want to clearly and publicly express our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. We hope you will stand with us in solidarity as partners in this fight for racial justice.
Throughout the history of the United States, Black people have been subjected to systems of brutality and oppression. Each of us — but particularly those of us who have the privilege that comes with white skin — must act to end these injustices. We call for accountability in law enforcement and an end to the systemic persecution of Black people, in our local community and beyond.
Kutsinhira’s mission depends fundamentally on strong, healthy relationships with Black Zimbabweans who generously share their music and culture with us. We strive to honor those relationships, and vow to continue reflecting deeply on the significance of that cross-cultural exchange and on our responsibilities as a predominantly white organization in the United States.
Whether we are conscious of racism in ourselves or not, we must recognize that it exists throughout our society — in Oregon, in Eugene, and within Kutsinhira. We must ask ourselves, as an organization and as individuals, how we may unintentionally uphold systems of oppression against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We must root out any biases that undermine our efforts to create an inclusive community among students, teachers, performers, audience members, friends, family, and the broader community.
Toward that end, we pledge to become more deeply informed about racial and cultural issues. Kutsinhira’s board and staff will determine ways to facilitate frank explorations of topics such as the colonial history of Zimbabwe, current economic disparities between our Black teachers and our membership, oppression in both Zimbabwe and the U.S., cultural appropriation, and racial and cultural diversity within Kutsinhira.
Though we recognize the challenge of dismantling systems built on oppression, we are heartened by the heightened possibility for transformative change in this moment. We hope you will join us in being part of that change by engaging in conversation and learning.
Kutsinhira board of directors:
Nancy Novitski, President
Dennis Urso, Treasurer
Marilyn Mangus, Secretary
Marilyn Kolodziejczyk, Zimbabwe Liaison
Gary Spalter, Executive Director and Teacher
Sue Dickman, Education Director
Karen Howe, Facilities Manager
Maggie Donahue, Founder and Teacher
Ratie Dangarembwa Morgan, Teacher
Caleb Donahue, Teacher
Wanda Walker, Teacher