Even as HumanitiesDC celebrates the power of the human spirit, we grieve the senseless murder of George Floyd and the police-involved deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee and countless other victims of police brutality and excess.

These past few days of civil unrest are a clear indication that the protestors in streets across the country are saying, “Enough is enough.” After the protests must come healing.

In midst of this unrest, we understand that the challenge in this momentous and consequential moment is for all of us to work tirelessly for lasting change. We have always regarded the humanities as a way to expand our perspective in order to strengthen the ties that bind us, and deepen our understanding of others.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

We live in an era bracketed by confusion, stress, strife and division. In the midst of fear and turmoil, we have to cling to hope, devise smart, workable solutions to a mélange of problems and find peace in the middle of the storm.

In other words, we must have courage under fire. We must push back against forces that are comfortable with casual, structural, and systemic racism. Indeed, we must encourage our neighbors, our family, and anyone not wholly convinced to see that these forces exist. We must push back against those who embrace fear and division, and the unjust system that punishes our African-American brothers and makes it a crime to be Black.

Those who have sought to make change have always come to the District to express their opinions. HumanitiesDC has gathered many of these moments in the DC Digital Museum where, for example, we have preserved community projects documenting the history of 1968 including the riots and unrest.

HumanitiesDC is committed to fostering a society with fairness, equity and justice as its guiding principles. We must stop being afraid of each other and begin speaking honestly about America’s Original sin – slavery – and its evil twin – racism.

Dr. King told us “we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now …”And he reminded us, “We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on…”

Now, with renewed purpose, HumanitiesDC will continue its mission to enrich the quality of life, foster intellectual stimulation, and promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of local history throughout the rich tapestry of neighborhoods in our nation’s capital.