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image reads: a note from dean stroker regarding anti-racism and social justice

To the Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts Community:

As our nation has been shaken by the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, we are awakened to and yet again reminded of the history of racial discrimination against Black Americans and other persons of color in this country. The CPCA believes that Black lives matter, and stands firmly against racism and all forms of hate speech, harassment, and discrimination. As part of the Center’s core mission, we strive to provide an inclusive educational community that honors the uniqueness of the individual, values diversity of perspective, and affirms the arts as central to society and culture.

While we individually reflect and take actions in response to systemic racism and social injustice, I strongly encourage us as an arts community to unite and collectively speak out against the social and economic inequities that do injustice to entire racial groups. We cannot and should not be silent. It is in challenging times like these in which the arts can be a powerful catalyst for social change.

Realizing that we can and must do more to address issues of social justice, we embrace the University’s mission of “opportunity, engagement and discovery” as a framework for the important labor that lies ahead:

Opportunity – We announce the establishment of the CPCA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. This group, comprised of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, will spearhead Center-wide efforts to develop actionable goals that advance our commitment to social justice for all. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core values.

Engagement – We will create spaces for listening, constructive dialogue and educational activities promoting diversity, equity and inclusion to identify ways the CPCA can improve its policies, practices and programs. Activities for the Center might include panels, symposia, invited speakers, discussions and presentations. Collaboration is key.

Discovery – We will use the knowledge we gain to make meaningful and measurable change that reinforces our commitment to educational excellence, engages with socially just principles, improves the safety of our communities, and honors the dignity of all. The initial stages of this work will include anti-racism training, prioritizing the recruitment and hiring of Black faculty, increasing our Black student enrollment, advocating for counseling services that are more culturally responsive, and ensuring that our curricula adequately reflect the contributions of Black Americans to the arts.  We intend to provide regular updates of our progress. Communication is essential.

As we continue to process the health and social challenges before us, I want to remind you of the support services and resources that are always available to assist you.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Robert Stroker
Dean and Vice Provost