Dear ASMP Community,
We are saddened and frustrated by the continued anti-Black violence in this country. We condemn the unconscionable murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and far too many other Black people trying to survive in America. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all those protesting to demand accountability and justice. We are motivated by the work of organizers across the country who are imagining systems radically different from those currently in place, and we are ready to follow their lead in restructuring our own practices. We, too, need to change.
As an organization that aims to advocate for and support the photographic community in the Chicago/Midwest region, we recognize that we must do a better job of examining how institutional racism manifests in both our internal and external operations. This begins with transparency: Our Board of Directors and a large majority of our members are white. As such, our programs and initiatives often center white bodies and narratives. Though we have long felt it necessary to do so, we have made little progress towards actively shifting these demographics—a huge failing on our part.
We are in frequent conversation about the ways in which we can make ASMP Chicago/Midwest membership more accessible and relevant to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) photographers, which will take the form of mentorships, partnerships, and more. We are dedicated to intentionally recruiting and fully supporting a more diverse membership, and we are excited to share these long-term plans as they continue to develop.
In the short-term, we are immediately donating $1,000 dollars in support of frontline organizations: $500 to My Block, My Hood, My City and $500 to The Bail Project. We are also coordinating a fundraising effort that will take place in July, and for the foreseeable future, we are dedicating our social media pages to amplifying the work of Black photographers, sharing resources, and exhibiting documentation of demonstrations.
Finally, our active recruitment of BIPOC Board Members is ongoing. If you are someone you know is interested in joining the Board, please reach out.
Our hearts and minds are with our Black community members, and our inbox is open to suggestions about how we can better serve you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts you may have. We are listening, learning, and working towards a more equitable ASMP.
Here is a short list of resources and organizations that have been instrumental in our ongoing education:
- Authority Collective’s Resources for Photographers and Beyond on Anti-Racism
- Authority Collective’s Do No Harm: Photographing Police Brutality Protests
- NPPA’s resource guide: COVID-19, covering protests
- Diversify Photo’s #hireblackphotographers list and their extensive database of BIPOC photographers
- AMSP Los Angeles’ list of Racial Justice Resources
- Patia’s Fantasy World’s Master List of Resources on how to Dismantle Systemic Racism
ASMP Chicago/Midwest President