Message from Brian Kennedy, Director and CEO, Peabody Essex Museum

Released June 1, 2020

We are deeply saddened by current tragic events causing pain, sadness, and heartache across the country. Museums seek to invite tolerance and acceptance, to foster empathy and healing. The grief-stricken family of Mr. George Floyd, faced with their personal loss at his horrific death, now seared on the nation’s memory, has called for peaceful protest and rejection of violence.

The pain of this tragedy tears at our hearts and compels us to speak out against injustice and racism, which is still experienced acutely by many and cannot be ignored.

Our museum has much work to do to become more inclusive so that we can better represent the diversity of this nation and address systemic inequities. We are committed to doing this work together with our communities.

To pay respect to Mr. Floyd and his family, while our museum remains closed due to the COVID 19 crisis, we are showing on our social media channels the work of black artists displayed in our galleries, including online resources for PEM’s Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle exhibition which explores how the fight for democracy, equality, and inclusion is entwined with the story of our nation.

TOP IMAGE: Jacob Lawrence, Panel 1. ...Is Life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? – Patrick Henry, 1775, 1955. From Struggle Series, 1954–56. Egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography by Bob Packert/PEM.