Belkin Gallery at UBC takes a pause, issues statement joining Black Lives Matter groundswell

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      The Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery at UBC is one of the institutions this week delaying programming to acknowledge the need to fight racism within cultural institutions as much as society. Here is the statement the gallery released today, after hitting pause on the online programming it's been offering since COVID-19 measures shut down the facility:

      This week we are holding back on our instalment of Everything This Changes. At this remarkable time we defer to the conversations about combatting systemic racism in our society, in our institutions, in our museums and galleries and in ourselves. 

      The video of the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police must call forth memories of similar horrendous incidents in Canada. Racism is not only an American ill. Closer to home, the very name British Columbia is a relic from an empire whose agenda was white supremacy. Indeed, as future editions of Everything This Changes will argue, the jurisdiction of British Columbia was founded on genocidal acts. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis there has been a recurrence of hate-motivated attacks on citizens of Asian ancestry. Today in our city, many citizens are afraid to walk to the grocery store or take public transportation because of this upsurge of racist behaviour. 

      The Belkin wholeheartedly supports the Black Lives Matter movement and the groundswell of anti-racism demonstrations, actions and calls for action. It is a time for us, and institutions like ours, that operate from a position of immense privilege, to do some serious and sustained introspective work. We need to interrogate the structures and policies of every aspect of our organization, confront our shortcomings, and come to a better understanding of the role we play in maintaining a status quo we otherwise revile. We need to listen.