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The School of Drama and anti-racist work

Submitted by Holly Arsenault on June 3, 2020 - 12:14pm

Dear School of Drama community,

Police brutality, racist, anti-Black violence, and the appalling racial disparities in the economic and health impacts of the pandemic are causing harm, grief, and justified outrage for many in our community. These events are deeply painful and exhausting for our Black colleagues and students, who must already contend daily with structural racism within academia, in the theatre, and in society.

Today we wish to affirm the important words of Rickey Hall, Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity and University Diversity Officer, UW Seattle; Wayne Au, Acting Dean of Diversity & Equity, UW Bothell; and James C. McShay, Asst. Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, UW Tacoma, as well as a list of support services they shared (linked at the bottom of this post, also).

“For members of the Black community, we see you, and we acknowledge the deep pain, anguish and extra trauma you are carrying right now due to this senseless loss of life. In the midst of these challenging times, when the pressures stemming from our history of racial violence and ensuing trauma feel heavy and unyielding, please know that we are here to uplift you, and we are in community with you.

“We have no answers in this message. Just a shared understanding that we stand with you in the pain of the moment as we ourselves search for answers and justice.

“We are united and unequivocal that antiracism must be at the core of all we do if we are to dismantle the destructive and oppressive effects of white privilege and systemic racism, which is the cornerstone of all U.S. social institutions, including our criminal justice system. This work is all of our work.”

Of course, words are insufficient. We can and we must and we will take concrete steps to make the School of Drama an antiracist institution that actually does the hard work required to bring about “a more just, equitable, and empathetic society,” as our vision states.

List of resources for UW students, faculty, and staff:

UW Seattle Counseling Center: https://www.washington.edu/counseling/

Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center: https://depts.washington.edu/ecc/

Bias Incident Reporting Tool: https://www.washington.edu/bias/

Safe Campus: https://www.washington.edu/safecampus/

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