Amidst the campaign to devalue the lives of Black people, finding the words to speak on behalf of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center has been difficult. I am angry, confused, and in mourning as I witness Black death and destruction. I am a Black woman; mother of a Black son; daughter of a proud Black man; I have made a commitment in my career to elevate the beauty of the struggle and artistry of my people for as long as I have the platform and resources available to me to do so.

From 1619-present, Black people have been dehumanized; the question is what can we do with our collective power now to find solutions? We can’t afford to lose the momentum we have built to fight for justice and equality for every man and woman.

AWAACC stands with the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement as well as those dedicated allies across the globe.

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center team hopes that people stay safe, protecting themselves and their families; and long term, we are committed to working with those that want to find long term solutions to impact our communities in a life-sustaining way. Our currency is Black art and culture and we know that art heals and empowers the “unheard”. What is your currency and how can we combine our wealth to empower our people?

August Wilson’s work was a form of activism. He said, “Have a belief in yourself that is bigger than anyone’s disbelief.” I believe in our power and the value of our currency. We can and will get through to the other side.

Janis Burley
President and CEO, August Wilson African American Cultural Center