The LEAP Program's Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter

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.