The essence of our organization is to create community one story at a time. We hold space for people to tell their stories, share their lived experiences on stage, and more importantly, for others to simply listen. Time and time again this has created connections and strengthened our Tucson community.
It’s no secret that our country has been increasingly divisive. It felt for a moment as if the COVID-19 pandemic had given us a common pain to endure together, though even the virus has disproportionately affected communities of color. Then the painful history of unresolved issues of systemic racism reared its ugly face to once more shock the nation. Shock for those who had not understood that this was already an endemic illness. An illness that has created a power structure which has dispensed both privilege and death.
Racist violence has been killing Black people in our nation since its inception. We watched in agony as yet another Black person was murdered as a result of police brutality.
Over the past few weeks we have taken time to listen and observe in hopes of understanding how we can best support this historic movement. It’s time for real change. We cannot sit silently with heavy hearts.
Racism is not simply something that only lives in individual hearts. It’s not about a few bad apples. It’s institutionalized oppression of people of color in our country. The very least we can do as allies of our Black brothers and sisters is to listen. Now is the time to uplift and amplify the voices of those who are literally screaming for attention to this issue. So we are here as we have been since our inception to do what we do best, to hold space for your voices, your stories.
We take our place in this narrative by first affirming that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Our podcast has already begun by highlighting stories from individual people of color storytellers. While that is a good starting point, we know we need to do more to reach out to communities of color in Tucson, especially the Black community. Our stage, our audience, and our volunteer family should reflect the entire Tucson community. We’ve been working on that and recognize we must do better.
More immediately, we are producing a special event to highlight stories of systemic racism called “Black Stories Matter”. If you are a person of color and wish to share a personal story we encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We know that not everyone has been able to join the protests due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so we are offering our virtual space.
Odyssey has been a shining light for many of us in this community. Please lean on us now. We are here to support you.