PRESS RELEASE: June 11, 2020

FROM: Florida Humanities


Keith Simmons, Communications Director
Phone: (727) 873-2011 | Cell: (813) 376-0182Email: [email protected]

Statement from Florida Humanities
Regarding Recent Events

Florida Humanities expresses our shared grief for the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others who have lost their lives as a result of racial violence. Understanding the historic roots and current implications of racism, both overt and covert, lies squarely in the realm of the humanities.

It is our obligation to use the humanities to understand racism and injustice and how to curb their influence in society. This is clearly an aspirational goal and we certainly do not have all, or even most, of the answers now. However, to the best of our ability, and with serious intention, Florida Humanities makes this immediate commitment:

  • We will make a sustained, strategic commitment to support programs on matters of racism, equal justice, and greater cultural understanding.
  • We will support forums for the community conversations on these subjects which are so badly needed and so rarely occur.
  • We will support scholarship that accurately reports patterns of racism and injustice in U.S. and Florida history.
  • We will support efforts by our community partners, through our grantmaking capabilities, to pursue the difficult task of addressing racism and working for a just America.

And we will remain hopeful. Our respected colleague and member of the senior Staff at Florida Humanities, Keith Simmons, said it most powerfully in an “Open Letter to My Mother,”

My hope for you is that you still believe that we have the power to change this world for the better, for all people. And to have hope that one day your hopes can be shaped and molded by an overabundance of good deeds that can serve as the foundation for a new, unshakable faith in the promise of America.”

To this, we commit.

About Florida Humanities
Florida Humanities, the statewide, nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and sharing the history, literature, culture, and personal stories that offer Floridians a better understanding of themselves, their communities and their state. Since 1971, Florida Humanities has awarded more than $8 million in support of statewide cultural resources and public programs strongly rooted in the humanities. These programs preserve Florida’s diverse history and heritage, promote civic engagement and community dialogue, and provide opportunities to reflect on the future of Florida. Learn more at