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For many Black, Brown and Asian children, one of the reasons Jem was significant is that the show presented a rare opportunity where they saw themselves represented in entertainment. They could engage with these characters, explore creative imaginations with outrageous hair colors, and sincerely enjoy play with a doll that looked like them.
The world of Jem represented all types of people, leaning in to our shared humanity and exploring our shared struggles. Jem helped many of us develop a sense of social responsibility through a moral compass that is (still) guided by hope, empathy, sharing, kindness, sacrifice, forgiveness and compassion. We learned that we can only fulfill our potential by speaking up, standing up and fighting for what is good and right – and not through silence, ignorance or inaction.
We at JemCon are simply a group of people for whom these values emanate from our individual cores and reflect as part of our collective spirit. A revolving group of us strive together every year to create a unique and special atmosphere that allows every person to embrace and express their full selves.
It is heartbreaking to us that the longstanding epidemic of racism forces so many whole-hearted people to live half-fulfilled, fear-stricken lives. It is devastating and immensely hurtful to know that for centuries and even to this day, Black people have been and are grossly mistreated, up to and including being killed, simply for being who they are.
Although many of us will never understand, we will stand with you.
We each individually pledge to create, emphasize and implement ways to amplify our voices and take action in support of Black lives. Combined with all of the other voices and actions, we can bend the arc of history away from its current trajectory of oppression and greed -- and instead set a mark towards demonstrable justice and equality. We can make a difference.
We will adapt this year's virtual JemCon and future JemCon programming to feature conversations and activities regarding race relations and representation. While we prepare on our end, we encourage everyone to seek practical resources on how to be a better ally and become more actively anti-racist. If you need some guidance on where to start, we have included some suggested resources at the bottom of this message.
And as planned, we will be back together in Minneapolis in 2021 – with more purpose and clarity than ever – to honor the hallowed ground where George Floyd's life was taken from him, and to celebrate the new reality that we unite to create; hand in hand, side by side, victory to victory. We will make a difference.