GLEA Statement: Black Lives Matter
Black burners put in their time, effort, and energy for Lakes of Fire and are an essential part of our community. Black burners, you are a part of our family and your problems are our problems. Black lives matter.
Lakes of Fire strongly condemns police brutality, racism, and fascism. We are outraged and sickened by the deaths of more innocent black people—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade being only the latest in an endless string—at the hands of people who should be protecting us. This structure is perpetually maintained by the silence of the community; we will not be silent.
We see authorities violating the 1st Amendment rights of protesters and journalists around the country, and recognize the threat to the right of all people to express themselves—radically or otherwise.
Regional Burning Man events in the United States are often predominantly white, and would have a different relationship with police if we were a predominantly black organization. As a community, we must be firm and direct in addressing these crimes, and also must look inward for how racism plays a role in our own structure.
Lakes of Fire’s Board of Directors understands that our event and organization can do better at welcoming black people at the table and making sure their voices are heard. We will also do better at assisting black individuals who want to attend a burn for the first time so that we can better “welcome the stranger.”
To that end, we intend to modify our Code of Conduct to ban symbols of hate at Lakes of Fire. We know this is only the beginning – we will meet with our black burner family to discuss long-term strategies to make a difference in these ways. We will reach out to you by August about these steps. We want you to hold us accountable, and welcome discussion on ways we can improve.
Dismantling white supremacy is an active practice. The Community Ready Corps Alliances & Allies has a set of 5 methods to help people address internalized racism, and we encourage you to check it out.
Please also see these resources for education, organization, and action.
- Black Burner Project
- Diversity and Radical Inclusion: Black Lives Matter
- Fumbling Towards Inclusivity – Life is a Festival #32: JR Nexus Russ
- Communication, Mediation, & Conflict Resolution Strategies (BRC Ranger Manual)
- Black Lives Matter
- SURJ: Showing Up for Racial Justice
- Bystander Intervention
- What to Do Instead of Calling the Police
- Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
Please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments or suggestions on how we can improve as an organization.
We want our black participants to know that while we can’t ask you to expend more energy, we are ready to listen to what you need and how you think we could engage on this issue, both during this current protest and throughout the years to come.
BrewBear, Jackpot, Jin, Megan, Rabit, Scottie & Skennedy
Board of Directors
In consultation with the Lakes of Fire Leads
Great Lakes Experimental Arts