UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Statement of Support for Black Lives and Against Police Brutality
The Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance condemns acts of police brutality across the nation. We call upon our campus administrators (including Deans, Legislative Assembly Members, and Executive Committees) to consider separating the mission of the University from the methods of social control exercised by our neighboring law enforcement agencies. Specifically, we as a Department disassociate our program from the use of campus property, leased facilities, staff, and resources for any policing of civil disobedience or the current holding of detainees.
We stand united with the African American community members who are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies. Because our Department accentuates activism and social justice within our coursework and our research, we see the current social dynamic of police violence and repression of civil disobedience as growing from a nationalist discourse of inequality, xenophobia, and dispossession. We understand that civil unrest is the logical and practical response to the practices and structures of inequality.
Aiming to avoid broad statements without practical changes, the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance commits to several actions in the Fall 2020 academic quarter and beyond:
- We will join together in a series of discussions that focus on criminal justice, prison abolition, unequal policing practices, and Black activist labor;
- The introductory course to our curriculum will highlight Black intellectual traditions and arts;
- We will invite all students, faculty and staff to study and discuss a Common Book, to be announced this summer, on the racist foundations of American democracy and the criminal justice system;
- And, admissions/hiring/guest decisions will emphasize projects and people that address structural inequality leading to and including our current social crisis.
We call upon campus and civic leaders to refrain from exercising force toward civil disobedience actions that we see across our city and country. We ask community organizers and city leadership to foster coalitions that aim to end police militarization and embody genuine law enforcement reform. We ask students to hold steadfast to their principles of equality, civic engagement, and arts activism. And as educators, we express our solidarity with oppressed people everywhere who are watching the current events with trepidation, knowing how violence and social antagonism have been fueled across the globe to solidify authoritarianism.
The Faculty of The Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Kyle Abraham, Bryonn Bain, Anurima Banerji, Dan Froot, Susan Foster, David Gere, Victoria Marks, Peter Nabokov, Janet O’Shea, Lionel Popkin, Allen Roberts, David Roussève, Peter Sellars, Aparna Sharma, David Shorter, Tria Blu Wakpa, Chris Waterman, Cheng-Chieh Yu