Museum Erupts Over Black Lives Matter

The Seattle Children's Museum is in tumult over social media posts
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2020 4:22 PM CDT
Museum Erupts Over Black Lives Matter
A screen capture from a video about the Seattle Children's Museum.   (YouTube/KMK Travel Reviews)

"Black Lives Matter"—until, apparently, they don't. That's what employees at the Seattle Children's Museum are complaining about after their anti-racist social media messages were edited at work, the New York Times reports. Now nine employees who went on strike out of protest have been laid off: "It's sad because I was sure that this was going to be my forever job," says former employee Maya Burton, who is Black. "But this is about people's lives. It's about my life, the lives of my family and friends." In a July open letter, the ex-staffers say they went on strike after their posts starting with "Black Lives Matter" had the opening line removed. The posts went on to list anti-racist children's books or show children how to make "support signs" with softened political messages, like "I love everything."

Museum head Christi Stapleton Keith explained the deleted lines in a staff video call, saying she personally believed in Black Lives Matter but had two concerns: creating a message "all agree on" and safeguarding museum funding: "What happens if we lose donors?" she asked. Then, two weeks ago, the nine workers were laid off in a move the museum said is "in no way tied to recent developments." What's more, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that workers complained about alleged racial biases against staffers of color, including "indignities" and "microaggressions." Stapleton Keith has since been put on leave, and the museum is using the phrase "Black Lives Matter" in its social media accounts. It also has a new website page called "Because Black Lives Matter." (Read more Black Lives Matter stories.)

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