East Bay Center was founded immediately after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968 as a local Richmond response to the unrest, anger, frustration, and need for change. Today our foundational values remain rooted in civil rights, equity and justice, and yet, as a community we all bear witness to how these values have been continually tested by the weight of racism and violence. We understand that restating our values is not enough. As we grieve with our Black community for the lives of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and so many more, we know there is a clear call to action:

We at East Bay Center understand the call to organize. 
We understand the call to work collectively to create an equitable environment in which our children can achieve their fullest potential.
We understand this work must integrate protest, voting, advocacy, direct action, moral reasoning and the power and imagination of culture and the arts.

At East Bay Center we have held a special trust: the engagement of children, youth and young people’s imagination through an intentional focus on arts from across the Diaspora – so that they might fulfill a new and better vision of our community and world. We are conscious of the responsibilities and boundaries this work requires and proud that East Bay Center has always been grounded in the beauty and imagination of Black culture and the inspiration of all of our ancestors. 

We want you to be certain that we are more resolved than ever. We are committed to being a resource for our Black students and community where they may find safety, joy, and expression through performing arts. We are committed to uplifting and celebrating the narratives and art of local Black artists and innovators, so that our students and community feel empowered to affect change. Through our students’ work, our faculty commissions, our partnerships with our local schools, residents and sister organizations who are committed to justice and beauty, we will do everything in our power to lift up this moment going forward as a time of change.

In community,

Staff and Faculty of East Bay Center

For resources and updates regarding how we are continuing our community work and how you can get involved, please visit our website at www.eastbaycenter.org .
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