Support Arts Education this November

Dear Members of the Beyond Baroque and Broader Los Angeles Communities:

As President of the Board of Trustees at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California, the oldest literary arts organization in Los Angeles County, I am proud to stand in lockstep with my colleagues in unanimous favor of California Proposition 28. This important endeavor, The Art and Music K-12 Education Funding Initiative, will provide viable, substantial, and much-needed money and resources for art-making and artistic engagement in K-12 schools. If passed on November 8, Proposition 28 would forever change young lives for the better.

How do we know this? Because we see everyday that the arts matter.

Founded in 1968, Beyond Baroque connects communities through poems and stories, and through helping aspiring writers young and old, including the earth-shattering Amanda Gorman, to harness the power of the written word to empower their lives and challenge systematic ills. All those who have come through our doors—whether they hail from the unsheltered population, underrepresented BIPOC or impoverished communities, or are struggling artists, veterans, lower-income to middle-class professionals, adjuncts, educators, administrators, civil servants, or are even the occasional celebrity—all are taught, encouraged and supported in the “doing” of language.

While we are (prayerfully) at the end of a traumatic pandemic, calls remain for justice in the face of anti-Black and anti-Asian crime, climate change reform, the persistent fight for return of Indigenous lands and artifacts, the need for safe and humane immigration practices for Central and South Americans, and for other migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. The literary arts, and particularly poetry, function as a way for us to not only express our lives and experiences, but to enhance our mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness.

For all these reasons, youth today need the arts in their classrooms more than ever.

Here at Beyond Baroque, as writers and teachers of writing, we speak truth to power. Our audiences, patrons, members, supporters, and sponsors champion creativity in all its forms. We help our community and our youth to listen to, laugh with, and applaud the arts; to feel empowered; to be catalysts for something worthy; and to envision themselves as the agents of their own change.

As Board President, and as as an educator, author and literary activist, my work and the work of our staff, artists, and workshop leaders, advocates for exploring the arts and using language to do the essential and necessary work to better our world.

We’re glad the arts are on the ballot on November 8, 2022. We look forward to how the passing of Proposition 28 will enhance the lives and imaginations of students and generations to come.


Shonda Buchanan
President, Board of Trustees
Author, Black Indian
she / her / hers