Earlier this week, The Animation Guild expressed its unequivocal support of Black communities over social media; however, we felt it crucial to take a deeper dive into this painful topic and the ways in which our union can do better.
We are profoundly saddened and outraged by the senseless killing of George Floyd and condemn the ongoing discrimination and persecution Black Americans face at the hands of their fellow Americans. The list is long and includes Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, along with countless others. We cannot stand by and watch hatred prevail but instead stand in solidarity with Black people to break down the barriers of inequity and institutional racism.
Members of law enforcement cannot be allowed to act with impunity and perpetuate fear in communities of color. Black people should feel safe in this country and protected from race-fueled profiling and violence. We must all take action to end these tragic outcomes because doing and saying nothing makes us complicit in these injustices.
The effects of racism do not stop at the animation studio door, and our union can and must do more to counter them. For far too long, the labor of education and activism has fallen heavily, if not exclusively, on our Black animation kin. It is overdue for those of us with privilege to take on this labor—emotional, mental, and physical—through addressing our own ignorance, harmful actions, and unconscious biases.
We call upon Animation Guild members, especially those in positions of seniority and hiring power, to take a hard, honest look at the compositions of their crews and to take a stand regarding hiring choices. Of course, it is not enough just to hire Black artists. We must give them clear pathways into leadership positions if we truly want to see change in the industry. Furthermore, our membership must have difficult conversations with loved ones and coworkers who have previously been given a pass. We encourage our signatory studios to do the same and look forward to future mutual discussion and action in this regard.
We must engage Black artists and offer productive opportunities for dialogue. We must not be complicit in their marginalization. We must provide an environment so that Black artists and writers feel welcome to participate in union activities as well as lead them.
Our work begins by reaching out to Black members of the Animation Guild community to hear their voices and learn from their experiences. We are in the process of organizing a virtual forum inviting Black members to share their experiences and begin to create stronger bonds within our industry and our union. Additionally, we are providing union resources to a growing TAG group organized and led by Black creatives.
We encourage our membership to extend their time and voices beyond the scope of unionism alone. Participate, learn, and use your right to vote to positively shape the future of our country. To get started, we recommend visiting animationguild.org/listen-learn.
These are first steps on a long road, but we are committed to pursuing it toward a future that protects and empowers our most vulnerable communities. Let us not forget that the foundation of a union is to join together and protect those who are unprotected. In that spirit, we raise our voices against injustice because Black Lives Matter.
The Animation Guild Executive Board