QUEENS CREATIVE SOLIDARITY MISSION AND VALUES STATEMENT
Queens Creative Solidarity (QCS) is an organization that emerged in late 2015 from our collective interest in building and cultivating an equitable network of artists and creative people in Queens. QCS acknowledges and respects the cultural richness already present in our neighborhoods, learning together how to be involved in community where art, art-making, dignified living, learning, parenting and working conditions are an equal right for all. Our Steering Committee is led by Lorie Caval, Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, Juanita Lara, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, Zahida Pirani, Sami Abu Shumays, Priscilla Stadler, and Roshani Thakore.
QCS Core Values:
- Cultivating, supporting, and advocating for cultural practices and opportunities in Queens
- Active, intentional work to include as many voices and communities as we can across the borough
- Encourage, safeguard, and organize the deep creativity inherent in all of our Queens communities.
- Centering and Prioritizing voices and needs of those most affected by oppression in our communities:
- Across multiple dimensions: language, artistic discipline/cultural practice, race, ability, LGBTQ/Gender, class, age, (im)migration status
- Of community members who don’t necessarily identify as “artists” but who self-identify as being involved in a creative/cultural activity
- Valuing Artists/Creative People as part of, rather than separate from communities
- Mutual support and solidarity
- Confronting Residential and Economic Displacement and Gentrification (both artists and communities)
- Challenging Existing Power Structures
- Creating/Developing alternate definitions and pathways for artistic “success” and creative prosperity.
- Commitment to working toward social justice and a more equitable society
- Working toward equity in the arts specifically, and building a greater voice for voices marginalized within the arts/culture sector
- Artists must lead the conversation in the arts/culture sector
- Building support/services for artists/creative people as a pathway for organizing and activist work.
- All-volunteer grassroots group. No formal/legal incorporation of organization (significant problems with incorporation structures designed to serve capitalism).
- Participating members as individuals, not associated with institutions.
- Democratic decision-making processes, encouraging equal development of leadership within QCS
- Collaboration and Strategic partnership with other organizations working towards similar goals
- Working on multiple levels of action – community organizing, political advocacy, cultural planning processes, street action; being creative about ways to take action – using our creativity to envision and implement things differently.
- Expansion/outreach to increase participation, resistance and organizing power