A Message from NHMLAC
Message from the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
I have been a resident of Los Angeles for 20 years. Having grown up in Berkeley, California, I am no stranger to civil unrest, public demonstrations, and the courage required for open dialogue.
As the first African American to serve as the President of the Board for a natural history and science museum nationwide, I am deeply concerned about the events leading to the death of George Floyd, and the protest and civil unrest happening in our county and across our country. I hope this moment in time will be a turning point in our approach to race, equity, and how we interface within our communities. The images that have been presented on the news and in social media may evoke an array of emotions— from sadness and grief to anger and frustration—but my hope is that we will come together as one community, and equity and justice will prevail.
While our doors are closed during this pandemic, our museums can and will continue to serve as a safe place for healing and peaceful gathering space for all races in our community. We are committed to truly being museums “of, for and with Los Angeles,” where we continue to inspire and educate future generations. These conversations can be a powerful tool in turning these tragic events into a learning experience and building a stronger community.
President, Board of Trustees
Statement from the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County stands with Black communities and commits to be museums where everyone is seen, heard, represented and respected. Protest gives voice to deep anger at injustice, and it has the power to inspire change. Today, we know the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more - and in knowing their stories we might understand the outrage, the fear, the sadness and the exhaustion Black people carry with them every day. Systemic racism is deeply ingrained in our country’s history and daily interactions. And it is further amplified by the moment, in Los Angeles and all across the country, where inequity is deepened and revealed by the pandemic as communities of color are impacted the most.
Founded in 1913, as museums of, for and with Los Angeles, it is our obligation to meet this historic moment, advancing empathy, learning and dialogue. We are committed to build upon our strong foundation to listen, working closely with our community partners, reflecting their perspective with new programming and approaches which embrace principles of social justice, and promote equity and inclusion. We re-dedicate ourselves, and reinforce our mission of inspiring wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds, and make the commitment to be a true partner in building a better community where there is no tolerance for injustice or racism.
Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga
President and Director