Smithsonian launches $25m “Race, Community and Our Shared Future” initiative

The Smithsonian is launching a new “Race, Community and Our Shared Future” initiative thanks to a $25 million donation from the Bank of America.

This initiative from the Smithsonian will explore how Americans understand, experience and confront race, as well as its impact on communities in the present and in the future.

Using resources from the Smithsonian’s museums, education and research complex, this initiative will look at the historical context of the challenges that face America today.

The Smithsonian Museum brings people together

For Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian, “the Smithsonian has been a place that brings America together in times of joy, celebration, sorrow and sadness”.  Bunch explains that “this is a key moment when all Americans need to see racism as a national issue that transcends specific communities.

The Smithsonian’s expertise, scholarship and collections will help our nation to better understand the challenges that arise from racism, to confront our difficult history and to unite to bring healing and hope for our future.”

Lonnie Bunch first Smithsonian African American Secretary

Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian

Engaging communities

“Race, Community and Our Shared Future” will launch with virtual Town Hall conversations, bringing together global and national civil rights, social justice and economic mobility leaders. There will be national and local programs to engage as many people as possible.

“This important new initiative builds on the unique role the Smithsonian plays in our country as a platform that engages and inspires all Americans,” said Steve Case, Chair of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents.

Case explained that Bank of America’s support will allow the Smithsonian to launch this initiative on the ‘Virtual Smithsonian’ platforms. This will allow even more Americans to join in “the conversations we need to have regarding race, identity and justice in order to come together as a nation.”

Bank of America is a founding member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, said that “a true sense of urgency has arisen in our communities and we must not let it quiet down.

Our commitment to the Smithsonian will support conversations that can advance economic and social progress. Now is the time. We all must do more.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture recently launched ‘Talking About Race’, an online portal designed to help people, families and communities discuss issues surrounding race.