As the ills of our society are on full display, let’s be reminded that artists have always played important roles in helping us to better understand who we are, who we were, and who we can be. The role of artist-educators, scholars and administrators is to help facilitate understanding of our curricula and programming in the various contexts in which we live and work, contemporarily and historically. We are not apart from the world, but vibrantly in it. And, we are committed to ensuring that we are constantly moving toward a better version of ourselves, where members of our community are not made to feel underrepresented or marginalized.
Over the past couple of weeks, our nation and our world, and specifically Black communities around the United States, have been rocked by a series of deaths of Black people, with a number of highly visible cases involving the police. We have seen the recorded murder of George Floyd repeated on television and on the internet. We’ve read about how first responder Breonna Taylor was shot to death in the middle of the night, awakened from sleep in her own bed. We’ve been horrified, watching Ahmaud Arbery hunted down and killed while jogging in his own neighborhood. And, the nation mourns the loss of local community member Tony McDade, while activists call for a full investigation into his death. Sadly, these are just a sampling of the most current incidents. Though horrendous, the apparent disregard for Black life is woven into the history of our country and over the past week the simmering pain, frustration, and rage spilled over and erupted onto the streets of major cities and inspired protests around the world.
We in the Florida State University College of Fine Arts are deeply pained by the events and legacies that have led us here, to social upheaval, but we are inspired by the demand for a more just society. We say to the members of our community, but particularly to our Black community, because of the specific weight of current crises (ongoing national protests and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19), we recognize that you are likely feeling the stress of these times in ways that are difficult or impossible to communicate and that you will each carry that weight differently. To you, we offer our support. We are with you. We are here for you. And, you matter to us.
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