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Amid protests against police brutality, Smithsonian Institution leader Lonnie G. Bunch called on “America to confront its tortured racial past.”

Justin Kamp
Jun 1, 2020 4:32PM, via Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch at his installation ceremony as Smithsonian Institution Secretary. Photo by Jaclyn Nash, courtesy Smithsonian Institution.

The top officer of the Smithsonian Institution, Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch, made a rare public statement regarding current events on Sunday, condemning police brutality and the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, among others. He also commended protestors in their fight for accountability amidst a weekend of demonstrations across the United States and around the world.

Bunch’s statement reads in part:

Although it will be a monumental task, the past is replete with examples of ordinary people working together to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society—but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.

Prior to becoming the first black leader of the Smithsonian Institution—which oversees a federally funded network of museums and the National Zoo—in November, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Read his full statement here.

Further Reading: The Art in the Smithsonian’s New African-American Museum Gives a Powerful, Nuanced Portrait of Black Experience

Justin Kamp
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019