A Call to Action: Voice Your Support for the NEA
On Thursday, March 16 the President released his budget outline, which calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Library and Museum Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. While this is not the first time that the arts and the NEA have been threatened by federal budget cuts, it comes at a time when other cultural freedoms are also being challenged, making this one more serious than usual.
What Can You Do?
Everyone should take immediate steps to alert the administration and/or your legislators that you disapprove of these proposed actions. Even though we are only at the beginning of a multi-step budget process, it isn’t too early to voice your concern. CMA will keep you informed throughout the budgeting process, but following are some actions you can take today:
1. Contact your Senators and members of Congress and let them know how important NEA funding has been to you, your organization, and the community that they serve. It’s important for them to hear directly from their constituents, upon whom they rely for re-election.
2. Urge your member of Congress to sign onto the Congressional Arts Caucus letter in support of NEA funding. This letter will be open, at a minimum, through March 24. Congressional offices can contact the leaders of the letter to sign on: Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ). There has always been bi-partisan support for the NEA, and it is essential to have that support moving forward.
3. Alert your audiences to contact their Senators and members of Congress as well. Consider adding an alert in the printed program of your performances or making an announcement from the stage. Your audiences are important stakeholders and supporters of your work, and have a great deal to lose if your work is diminished.
4. Utilize social media. Post messages on your elected officials’ social media pages. You can find the appropriate information by entering your zip code and clicking on the name of the person you wish to contact. Use #SavetheNEA and encourage your networks to engage their lawmakers through Twitter and Facebook posts.
Decide today what you will do. We need to take action—individually and collectively—now.