In response to the March 27th court decision to remove a family of artists and their young children from their Downtown home of 25 years by an out-of-town company seeking to expand their hotel, we, the working creatives of Memphis, must ask ourselves if this city truly values our presence and our services.
We call on all working creatives, supporters, patrons of the arts, and concerned citizens to join us on Friday, April 6th, 12-2pm at Civic Plaza to show our solidarity and support for all working artists in our community & for this family of artists, as they face this difficult situation.
Our program will include performances and artists' personal stories, statements of support and appreciation for Christopher & Sarah's contributions to our community, and a call to action for us to continue to stand together beyond this moment, to provide the inspiration, leadership, and representation to ensure that our voices and perspectives are the driving force in identifying the problems, goals, and solutions that can help our community move forward.
In the wake of our city's MLK50 commemoration, we believe that this circumstance gives us an opportunity to speak some truths that need to be heard. The majority of the organizers for this event are white artists. We are aware of this imbalance of representation, and we have sought & incorporated feedback, input, guidance, and participation from artists of color.
Another truth: We are living in a divided community, and we need to come together. We recognize, as artists, that we need to stand together to demand dignity, fair treatment, and adequate compensation for ALL of our working artists - be they from North Memphis, South Memphis, Downtown, Midtown, or points east. We need to recognize - and call out - discrimination, racism, and ignorance when it comes to the broader communities' perceptions of who we are and how we live as working creatives.
Finally, we call upon the powers that be in local government, agencies, and businesses to take actions to provide real, tangible resources, fair treatment, and adequate compensation for our city’s working creatives. If we are a key part of your strategy to attract business and investments to Memphis, you need to value us and uphold your end of the bargain. If we are your greatest asset, invest in us.
If you are unable to attend in-person, we ask you join us this Friday, April 6th through social media by using the hashtag #StandForCreatives to share your thoughts and opinions about how we can support working creatives in Memphis, and we ask that you tag Aparium Hotel Group to tell them just how important and loved Christopher Reyes, Sarah Fleming, and our working artists are to you, and to remind them that in Memphis, we #StandForCreatives, and they should, too. We need to send a message to the corporate community that as working creatives, we will stand together to defend ourselves when one of our own has been mistreated.
In the compassionate spirit of Christopher Reyes and Sarah Fleming, we invite you to join us in this call for positive solutions and solidarity. This is just the beginning.
Moving forward, we need to find ways that we can work together across color, ethnicity, language, religion, and gender lines to be one voice on behalf of the working creatives of Memphis. To that end, we are starting a group page to create a space for dialog, discussion, organizing, and advocacy to make sure our perspectives are centered when decisions are being made that affect our lives and future in this city. Please join us:https://www.facebook.com/standforcreatives