June 2, 2020
The recent violent events in our country against the backdrop of the onslaught of a deadly virus have created an era of considerable uncertainty and anguish. I do not doubt that your heartfelt feelings are with the victims of discrimination and unjustified violence. In the name of these men and women and countless more, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets — to express a rage born of despair.
I believe that I will speak for the majority of our ASC members to express concern regarding a substantial commitment to our democracy. I would like you to join me in the belief that America can choose a better self.
“In the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard,” Dr. King said. “As long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.”
Although the ASC has no political affiliation or motive, it is a society of people and often through our work connected to human interest. With 100 years solidly behind us, I can only encourage you to cherish the “Loyalty” that we stand for and work towards a fairer society providing the most fundamental protections in the Constitution; “the right to life, and to not be deprived of that life without due process of law.”
Let us all start to work on the future.
Kees van Oostrum, ASC
3rd June 2020
The British Society of Cinematographers writes to you in the spirit of solidarity, shared outlook and a desire to see America, as you say, “choose a better self”. The killing of George Floyd was yet another expression of the systemic racism that seems so easily to manifest itself in a country whose people we know to be, in their hearts, closer in principle to the teachings of Dr King.
We hold faith in that belief.
We do indeed cherish the ‘Loyalty’ you stand for as the Mother of all cinematographic societies and, perhaps more importantly, the ‘Progress’ that has been the ASC’s raison d’être the last 100 years. The racism that is endemic across the world and, for which we all bear a responsibility, can only be tackled by naming it when we see it and making progress to right the imbalances in our Societies, great and small.
Progress in establishing diversity; Progress in encouraging inclusion; Progress in leading by example. And in that progress, the things we leave behind will be ignorance, lazy thinking and the acceptance of things because “that’s how they’ve always been”.
Our heartfelt feelings go out to all the victims of discrimination and unjustified violence. We trust justice and accountability follows soon.
These days of Covid hold an implicit promise of change once we emerge from its restrictions. It’s up to us.
I echo your thought Kees, “Let us all start to work on the future”.
Mike Eley BSC