Dear Whitney Community,
Like all of you, I have been horrified, furious, and anguished over the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and far too many Black Americans. Devastating racism and inequity are all too prevalent across the United States. As a museum of American art, we have sought to make visible and condemn, through the voices of the artists and art we present, the injustice, systemic racism, and violence aimed at people of color in our country. We understand the weight of our position and stand with Black communities across the country who are suffering—and everyone who is working to make a more just future.
At the Whitney, we must undertake this work as well. Over the past five years since opening downtown, we have made mistakes. We have also listened and are always learning. We have increased the racial diversity of our collection, exhibitions, performances, educational programs, audiences, and staff. But we must go further and do more still.
In the coming months, the Whitney will re-examine our exhibitions and programs to ensure they continue to address the art and experiences of people of color, especially Black communities. We will review our staff, our organizational structures, and our culture through a lens of racial equity and will commit to additional anti-racism and unconscious bias training. We will also actively consider and pursue new avenues to leverage the Whitney’s resources for constructive engagement outside the Museum’s walls. Our Board of Trustees will pursue the goals of adding greater diversity and reviewing its governance, both of which are already underway. I pledge myself and the Whitney wholeheartedly to these processes and others that we will identify and undertake in the days, weeks, and months ahead, in order to pursue meaningful action and lasting change. We will continue to share updates about specific actions and initiatives in the coming weeks.
The Whitney believes in the power of artists and art to shape lives and communities and in an inclusive idea of America. I am committed to our ongoing work, which we will conduct with our hearts, humanity, empathy, and, critically, with the courage to do what we think is right.
With respect and commitment,
Adam D. Weinberg
Alice Pratt Brown Director
In The Heart of Historic Southampton Village