In the summer of 2020, the death of George Floyd inspired the world to understand & speak out against systemic racism. The Smithsonian partnered with DME and MERGE design agency to launch Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past, a multi-media initiative created to engage every American in conversations and help build a more equitable future.
Each potential participant brings their own unique perspective and background to these discussions. Many people who should be participating in this conversation aren’t for various reasons—from apathy and ignorance, to simple self-consciousness and fear. Those who are involved often feel fatigued, frustrated and potentially critical of newcomers and their intentions. To meaningfully engage these audiences, we had to understand their outlooks.
If we created a private intimate space with the potential audience, we could speak frankly about a deeply sensitive and emotional topic to better understand the hopes that trigger their engagement and the fears that create withdrawal.
Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past offers a space for dialogue about race. It provides a safe and collaborative place where anyone can share experiences and increase their understanding of the legacy of race and racism.
Drawing on the breadth of the Smithsonian's expertise, research, and collections, our goal is to help advance the work of others. Race and Our Shared Future provides an ecosystem of resources and experiences, both digital and live, featuring real conversations from local communities to national events.
Confronting race and racism is difficult, but necessary work. The Smithsonian strives to amplify your voices in our commitment to building a more equitable path toward our shared future.