Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2019.

During a pandemic, brilliance was on live display last week on YouTube.  The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Alchemy of the Reset with Carlton Turner discussion delivered.  Transforming society to be equal starts with listening.

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: “Alert! Seismic shifts underway. Culture, politics, and policy are transforming in real time.  In the wake of ongoing racist police violence and the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others, and while we continue to face the COVID-19 crisis, our society is igniting the potential to leap forward.  How can you engage in the reset?  How can you support a radical reimagination of what is possible?  How can you push against old structures and work to rebuild?

Alchemy of the Reset is a conversation series hosted and created by YBCA’s Chief of Program Meklit Hadero and YBCA Senior Fellows Brett Cook and Liz Lerman—three artists who have dedicated their creative practices to inspiring systems and structural change.  Over several weeks, Hadero, Cook, and Lerman will engage in dialogue with other artistic and creative leaders whose body of work and stories of reset aim to inspire members of our community to take action.”

SANDRA BLAND, clear braille on polymer.

Carlton Turner is a performing artist, organizer, advocate, and Alternate ROOTS executive director.  From website: “Alternate ROOTS is a regional* arts service organization with 44 years of history.  As a member-driven national resource for artists and cultural organizers, we seek to champion social and economic justice and the work of people in our field.  Alternate ROOTS provides the connective tissue for a distinct segment of the arts and culture field – artists who have a commitment to making work in, with, by, for and about their communities, and those whose cultural work strives for social justice.  The nature of this work spreads us far and wide from each other, so collaboration, peer sharing and combined impact can be a challenge.  Alternate ROOTS helps us sustain our artistic development, increased visibility, and stability as activist artists and cultural organizers.”

Hosts (image from

During the YBCA discussion, Turner stressed the importance of strengthening “your ability to relate to people” and “honoring everyone’s humanity.”  Community engagement includes building relationships and listening.  For over six years, I served on the Richmond Arts & Culture Commission and Public Art Advisory Committee.  Turner identified two infrastructure holes: food and education.  As an advocate and instructor, I’ve witnessed this firsthand.


How do we stay connected during a pandemic?  Can students learn remotely without a computer or internet access?  Turner’s example is broadband internet access for everyone.  Supporting equality is understanding privilege.  Time to reset and delete systematic racism.