Statement in Solidarity with Black students, faculty, staff, & community members
Dear YorkU Theatre community,
Statement from the Department of Theatre, the MA/PhD Program in Theatre and Performance Studies and the MFA Program in Theatre at York University in Solidarity with Black students, faculty, staff, and community members
The Department of Theatre, the MA/PhD Program in Theatre and Performance Studies and the MFA Program in Theatre are deeply concerned about the ongoing racism and violence committed against Black people in both the United States and Canada. We are appalled by the recent brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade in the US, and by the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Canada. We recognize that these horrendous acts of violence are manifestations of systemic discrimination and exploitation that Black people, racialized people and Indigenous people experience on a daily basis in Canada, the US and around the world.
These recent events have caused unspeakable pain, sorrow and grief for Black communities across Canada and the US. We stand in solidarity with our Black, racialized and Indigenous students, colleagues, and community members outside of the academy in demanding justice and equality in our society.
We also are deeply committed to values of equity, inclusion and diversity in our own department and graduate programs. We recognize that anti-racist work begins with identifying and dismantling white privilege and the ideas, structures and processes that maintain it.
We are committed to ensuring that an anti-racist agenda is reflected in our departmental and program activities and curriculum. We have developed a number of current initiatives in response to our ongoing dialogue with students (please see here for more). For immediate support, we encourage our students to access York University’s resources offered through its Centre for Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion and Student Counselling & Development. For more information on how you can support Black organizations in Toronto, see here.
We are ready to listen, reflect, learn and act to challenge racism in and through the work we do as academics, artists, pedagogues and members of society. First and foremost, however, we are here to support our Black, racialized and Indigenous students and continue to build together a community that treats everyone with respect and dignity. Transparency and accountability are our top priorities in creating a more just academy and society.
Yours in solidarity,
Marlis Schweitzer, Chair, Department of Theatre
Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston, Graduate Program Director, Graduate Program in Theatre & Performance Studies (MA/PhD)
Gwenyth Dobie, Graduate Program Director, Graduate Program in Theatre (MFA)