Statement of Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

04 June 2020 Published in News and Announcements

School of Dance:

We recognize the difficult and emotionally wrenching circumstances surrounding us at present. It has been a traumatic few weeks and months for communities of color, particularly for Black communities throughout the United States. We acknowledge the systemic racism that creates an untenable world for our students, colleagues, neighbors, friends, and community members of color, and we stand in solidarity with them.

At the School of Dance, we are committed to diversity, equity and justice. We unequivocally condemn racism, racial prejudice or harassment of any kind, and condemn the long history of violence, colonialism, and police brutality that have wreaked havoc on people of color. We are committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for all of our students, faculty, staff and guests. We are committed to honoring humanity in our art, education and work. We are not perfect and we are committed to learn, heal, and work to improve.

We understand this work requires a balance of personal and systemic transformations. Last year our SoD community spent the year in conversation on how to recognize racism in our own beliefs and systems and then ask the questions that facilitate anti-racist spaces.  We plan to continue this work during the next academic year. We are open to your ideas on how we can improve our community. We can all do better. We all MUST do better. Here is a helpful list of things to consider:

  • Educate Yourself: Consider the work of James Baldwin, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Richard Wright, and Malcolm X. More recent books like So You Want to Talk About Race, How to be Antiracist, White Fragility, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, and White Rage provide contemporary insight on how to show up for communities of color. Purchase them from your local bookstore, and check out more resources here. Also use your resources.  The library and search engines like Google are endless resources to find out how to help immediately, and educate yourself on other people and cultures.
  • Engage with media created by People of Color. Consider reading TheGrioThe Root, Ellen McGirt’s Race Ahead, and Rachel Cargle. Listen to podcasts like Code SwitchIntersectionality Matters, and Race Forward.

  • Support organizations that are moving the needle on racial justice. Black Lives MatterColor of ChangeCampaign Zero, the Anti-Racism Project, the NAACPUnidosUS, and the ACLU are a few of the organizations working nationally and locally for social justice issues facing communities of color. You can sign up for their mailing lists, donate, respond to their calls to action, and find other ways to get involved. 

  • Stand up for and with People of Color. When you see wrong, stand up for what is right. Call out racist actions — explicit or implicit — when you see them. When justice is compromised, protest, and challenge it until it creates change. You can learn more about how to be an ally here, and here.

  • Be intentional with your money. Intentionalist provides guides and a directory to make it easier to find and support local businesses and the diverse people behind them, and our friend Radha Friedman has compiled a list of 50 organization led by women of color to consider supporting.

  • Examine yourself.  Take a hard, honest look at yourself. Ask not only what are you doing to help, but also what do you need to change in your habits not to advance racism in our society.  Part of the problem is that racism is in some ways as tied to our DNA as our national and cultural identity.  What little things are you doing in your everyday life to end systemic racism?  What components of anti-racism are you trying to bring to light?

  • Be forgiving.  Of others and yourself.  Change does not happen overnight, but progress can be pushed in the right direction.  You are going to make mistakes.  You are human.  Help yourself and your fellow human beings to grow and heal together.  Have those difficult discussions with loved ones, friends and others that you trust.  Don’t fear your “lack of knowledge”, turn it “into knowledge” that you can use to better the world.   Learn from your mistakes and make that wisdom an active part of your life.

  • Get involved in the political process. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, demand accountability from your elected officials and advocate and support candidates who share your values. Most importantly, vote! (register here) – and encourage others in your community to do the same.

We know these past days, weeks and months have been difficult. If we can be a resource in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We encourage you to also read the statement from the College of Fine Arts and The Office for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

In Solidarity,
The Faculty and Staff of the School of Dance