LEAP Commitment to Anti-Racism
In LEAP's continued commitment to anti-racism, especially within education and the performing arts, we pledge to listen, learn, course correct, and share resources freely.
In response to the brutal and horrific state sanctioned murders of Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Dijon Kizzee, Rayshard Brooks, Layleen Polanco, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmuad Arbery, and countless others who have died by racial violence by police and white supremacists without media representation, and in solidarity with SMC’s Black Student Union, the Black Lives Matter sub-committee of the CCIE, the Ethnic Studies Program, and other programs on campus that have spoken out in support of Black Lives Matter—the LEAP Program of Saint Mary’s College wishes to unequivocally condemn anti-Black racism and violence.
The LEAP Program recognizes that we must do more than condemn racial violence, we must act to dismantle systemic intersectional oppression within our institution. To that end, we have outlined action items for the LEAP Program, and have utilized “We See You, White American Theatre” as a guiding framework. We want to thank the numerous BIPOC authors of https://www.weseeyouwat.com, as well as the leadership of the Black Lives Matter movement globally, nationally and on our campus for demanding accountability and inspiring us to create these actions.
- Be agents of change for racial justice. From our local communities to our global networks, we will act to fight racial injustice through our artmaking practices, research, teaching and community service.
- Acknowledge that silence and inaction upholds institutional racism, anti-Black racism and other systemic inequalities.
- Acknowledge the history of racism within Eurocentric movement practices, and immediately decenter whiteness and white/ western aesthetics as a default to dance studies.
- Develop anti-racism and decentering of whiteness as foundational to our program’s mission, curriculum and pedagogical practices, and work with other departments on campus that offer LEAP Core Curriculum courses to revise curriculum, teaching, and inclusive standards that center BIPOC voices.
- Commit to recruiting more Black and Indigenous students to the LEAP Program by prioritizing their applications, and find additional opportunities for supporting these students.
- Institute mandatory and regular anti-racism training for all faculty and staff of the LEAP Program.
- Commit to transparency in hiring practices specifically acknowledging the LEAP Program’s nature to hire adjunct faculty due to location specific courses.
- Develop an immediate review of our curricular readings and pedagogical practices to center BIPOC voices and embodied wisdom within the Performing Arts.
- Create a formal process and transparent and safe structures whereby racist incidents are reported with timely administrative response and transparent chain of accountability without fear of retaliation or retribution.
As this is a working document, we welcome the feedback and suggestion from our BIPOC students and faculty in aligning our program by decentering whiteness and uplifting anti-racist practices. We will be conducting an annual review of this list to monitor the progress of achieving the above stated action items. We do not make this commitment lightly. Systemic racism can only be abolished through systemic change. We will seek reform, and pursue actions that lead to transformation in addressing anti-Black racism at our institution, our performance organizations, and in the world.
We seek safety, compassion, respect, equity, love and justice within our community.
Dear LEAP Community,
The LEAP Program extends our solidarity to the Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities who continue to experience anti-Asian racism and violence across the country and in our local communities. We stand with the Asian Pacific Islander Subcommittee of the College Committee for Inclusive Excellence at Saint Mary’s College in naming the anti-Asian hate, xenophobia and violence that has escalated from the COVID-19 pandemic and harmful white supremacist rhetoric.
All members of the LEAP team are saddened, outraged and unequivocally condemn the murders of eight people in Atlanta on Tuesday, which includes six women and of Asian descent, five of their names have been released: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Geng, Julie Park, Park Hyeon Jeong. We are sending our thoughts and prayers to those families and to the Asian Pacific Islander Communities reeling from the long history of anti-Asian hate, violence, harassment, and discrimination in the United States.
We want to hold space for those in our community who identify as a part of the AAPI community. At Saint Mary's there are resources available to our community, one of which is Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). If you are not directly impacted, you can support your colleagues by supporting their self-care and through education, taking action and donating (Anti-Asian Violence Resource Guide).
As a program that prides itself on its social justice mission, we offer our individual and collective action toward ending racism and femicide. As educators, artists, scholars and administrators, we believe it is our responsibility to respond to racial violence in both our explicit commitments of solidarity and through collective action with our academic mission, curricular actions and the cultural climate of the LEAP program.
In solidarity and unwavering commitment,
The LEAP Program
The LEAP Program works in solidarity with SMC's College Committee on Inclusive Excellence in order to "envision a community that goes beyond tolerance of differences to one guided by social justice, cultural competence and engaged citizenship. We know we can reach greater heights of excellence by learning from diverse people."
We are constantly learning, adapting, and striving to improve this commitment and welcome all conversation and concerns.