Deescalation Resource Sharing

June 24, 2020 By anne-cauley

In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Protests, the Arts of Life community has been listening, reflecting, and finding ways to take action. We are committed to increasing our collective learning and the diversity of voices at every level of our organization.

In a very real way, our work is centered in a place where these catastrophes unfortunately meet. So many who have lost their lives while in police custody are black and have a disability. We want to reaffirm that whether you are a black man, woman, transperson, and/or have a disability, your life matters

Our work in the studio is centered on creativity, but also respect and safety. Our artists and staff know that when a person is experiencing crisis, the most important thing to do is listen, give the person space, be patient and present, and work with them to meet their needs. Even in a crisis, we are our own best advocates. This work requires training, vigilance, and consistent, intentional practice. Unfortunately, law enforcement are often highly unprepared to safely engage with a person in crisis. In the State of Illinois, police are often asked to wear many hats – that of a social worker, criminal investigator, first aid provider, crisis intervener, family counselor, and more – and are not sufficiently trained to meet these expectations.

We wanted to share a few resources for you to read  and consider:

Image: Emerging Sun by Hubert Posey, 16×20