Joint VRA and VRAF (VRA Foundation) Solidarity Statement

The VRA and VRAF condemn all violence, and acts of racism, including police brutality, against Black people, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Unacknowledged structural, institutionalized, and legislated racism can no longer be tolerated. Our Black colleagues, their lives, their work, and their sense of belonging to this community matter.

As a members’ organization (VRA) and a foundation (VRAF), we strive to create an inclusive community that values and encourages diversity in its membership and work. Our mission is not only to promote knowledge sharing, skill development, and best practices, but also to foster open, inclusive communication; to offer a supportive community; and to advocate for all people who engage in the management of visual assets.

We have an obligation to do the work necessary to live up to this mission. Inclusion requires that we acknowledge the intergenerational history and persistence of systemic racism and actively work to counter racism and its lethal effects. We must disrupt the roles that our institutions and practices play in perpetuating injustice and racism by asking what we need to change in hiring and promotions, in curricula, in collecting policies, in description of materials, and in making our knowledge and materials accessible. We must acknowledge that the leadership and membership of VRA and VRAF is disproportionately white and that writing this statement does not resolve long-standing injustices. We must also examine ways in which our organizations can advocate meaningfully and concretely for equity and justice. It is incumbent on us to support people who work in the field by advancing the perspectives of people who have been marginalized by fostering open forums for discussion and ensuring that people of color fill leadership positions, working to dismantle the effects of structural racism in our varied professions, and taking stands against racism and racist practices when we see them. Far from being neutral, visual assets and the institutions and people that provide access to them have a great deal of power to shape and reinforce power structures. A key part of our work as visual assets and cultural heritage professionals is to address ways in which our practices must change to challenge and dismantle, rather than support or permit, white supremacy.

The VRA and the VRAF call on all our colleagues to move forward with action and purpose just as we will ourselves. We implore you to reexamine your own practices and policies as individuals, as committees, and as local chapters. We, the VRA and VRAF board members, acknowledge that we need to make measurable changes in the structure of our organizations and are committed to undertake this work.

VRAF Board of Directors and the VRA Executive Board

Approved by the Visual Resources Association EAC (Equitable Action Committee)

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