By Ellen Stearns
—Lives Irrevocably Torn Apart by Gunfire.
Every Soul Box holds space for a person killed or injured by gunfire. It doesn’t matter how or why a person was shot. What matters is a life was irrevocably torn apart by gunfire and each person represented in our exhibits is unique. We treat each and every story with care, compassion and respect, regardless of race, cultural background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation.
We bring those same qualities to our ARTivism while addressing a complicated issue. People are needed from different backgrounds to join us in order to for us to do our best work. The more diversity there is among those participating, the more truth we will reveal. Together we are powerful and together, we will accomplish our mission.
For the past month or so, our core team of volunteers and board members has been taking an honest look at The Soul Box Project. We’ve explored what we are doing and what we should be doing to embrace the systemic and structural changes needed to address diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our Philosophy is published on our website and added a new guiding principle.
The Soul Box Project will continue to look, learn and listen to keep this philosophy a reality.
Philosophy of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In our Soul Box Project exhibits, we represent and honor people in the U.S. killed or injured by gunfire, including those of every race, cultural background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation, or circumstances of shooting.
We strengthen our organization by cultivating that same diversity of representation in our operations by:
● Embracing and promoting a culture that values each person working for and with The Soul Box Project.
● Learning from and listening to the voices of those people most affected by gunfire – victims, their families and loved ones – recognizing that each person’s grief and experience is unique.
● Actively reaching out to and engaging communities affected by gun violence, which are disproportionately people of color.
● Building alliances with initiatives working for a safer, more civil society, regardless of cultural background or religious or political affiliation, by offering dramatic visual support.
The Soul Box Project began as the vision of one artist. Throughout its evolution, the organization has grown to encompass many voices. We are addressing a complicated issue. We strive to be sensitive and grow from our missteps. We recognize we can only be effective in our mission by embracing the systemic and structural changes this country so desperately needs.