Black Lives Matter: Our Commitment to Racial Equity and an Inclusive Community
Over the past several weeks, our country has been rocked by the killings of Black citizens including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, and Tony McDade among others. These events have served as a stark reminder of the systemic racism which pervades our country denying Black and brown members of our community access to the most basic freedoms of American life. They have also propelled a national awakening, prompting individuals and institutions alike to take a hard look at their complicity in these systems and demanding action to address these injustices.
These events have also illuminated the School of Theatre’s need to actively engage in an effort to create a School culture which is centered around racial equity and inclusion. Our need for change has been informed by alumni and current students who have shared their own experiences navigating our organization as Black and brown members of the student body.
Change is long past due and we know that it will only come from a deliberate and focused process which engages the entire School of Theatre community. We commit to the following steps to begin this process:
- The establishment of the Alliance for the Future: Dismantling Bias and Racism in the School of Theatre Task Force to develop a deliberate and definable action plan that advances Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a priority within the School of Theatre.
- The establishment of avenues for the School of Theatre to hear from Black and brown constituencies at all levels to further our understanding of their experiences with the School.
- The development of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement which serves as a framework for integrating EDI values throughout the School of Theatre.
- The distribution of Anti-Racism training and resources to faculty, staff and students with an emphasis on creating racial equity and justice within the context of arts and cultural organizations.
- The implementation of a system of accountability to help eradicate racism, harassment, bullying, discrimination and other activity which violates the School of Theatre’s accepted set of EDI values.
- The development of a proactive strategy for revising the search process to attract and retain Black, Indigenous and People of Color faculty and staff.
- A full review of policies, procedures, mission statements, curriculum, programming, recruitment and all other aspects of the School of Theatre through the lens of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.
- A renewed commitment to amplifying the work of Black, Indigenous and People of Color theatre, dance and film artists and creative practitioners.
- A transparent and inclusive process inviting internal and extended members of the School of Theatre community to both participate in our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative and hold us accountable to our goal of racial equity and inclusion.
To ensure transparency and accountability, we have created this hub for information on our ongoing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion efforts. We know that these are only initial steps and that our efforts must be centered around achieving meaningful and transformational change within the School of Theatre to ensure that we achieve our goals of racial equity, inclusion and justice.
For more information on the Alliance for the Future: Dismantling Bias and Racism in the School of Theatre, visit the Task Force webpage.