Dear MPAP Community,
I have been reflecting in the last few weeks on how I can contribute to change, and I recognize that there is much work to be done. I understand that Black students’ learning and development are hindered by explicit and implicit biases, as well as overt racism. I have been meeting with school leadership, the Office of Global Inclusion, full-time faculty, staff, and administrators, and listening to their feedback and suggestions on what MPAP can do better. I know that Black students are dramatically underrepresented within our faculty and student population. We know that many of our community members are upset, frustrated, and demanding change. It should not have taken recent events of police brutality and deplorable acts of violence against Black people for us to acknowledge and address the longstanding inequities in our department.
My program directors stand with me in solidarity in support of our Black students, faculty, and staff, and the Black community of artists, including MPAP alumni, and commit to the rejection of racism. They are actively working with me to rectify institutional and systemic racism and injustice. Building diversity within our community can become one of our greatest strengths, and by creating a more inclusive environment for EVERYONE, this is where true learning begins. It is time for us to take responsibility and to take concrete steps to make MPAP an academic performance community where diversity and inclusion are indispensable and at the core of our teaching, training, and learning. We can’t wait ANY longer—it’s time for us to take action and make a change.
We commit to:
- Participating in New Anti-Racism Training and Activities by the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation (OGI)
- Developing a plan to increase equity and diversity in department faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention
- Reviewing our curriculum to ensure a framework built on inclusivity
- Taking steps to foster an environment and culture where all students, faculty, and staff of color can succeed
- Allocating additional financial resources to diversity and inclusion programs for the growth of our student population of color
We must also urgently and actively learn more about what each of us can do to create a more inclusive and anti-racist environment. I am doing my own work to listen, learn, and take action as your chair, and I encourage each member of our community to think about what you can personally do to support racial justice and help further the University's values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Similarly, my current efforts will continue to reflect my commitment to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in MPAP.
In the coming weeks, MPAP will be partnering with the Office of Global Inclusion on programming that is responsive to the needs of our community and society as a whole during this time.
While I have had many conversations already, your voice is important to me and I need to hear your voice too! Please feel free to share your ideas, comments, and suggestions by contacting MPAP-Diversity@nyu.edu.
In closing, I have included a list of educational resources at the end of this message.
“Life is short. People are not easy to know. They're not easy to know, so if you don't tell them how you feel, you're not going to get anywhere, I feel.” ― Nina Simone
Dr. David Schroeder
Chair, NYU Steinhardt MPAP
Here are some recommended resources for you to consider and actions to take:
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, President Hamilton addressed the NYU community to condemn racism, bigotry, and hatred.
- NYU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Lisa Coleman, outlined NYU’s important work to address anti-Black racism and ensure equity for all community members.
- The Office of Global Inclusion (OGI) compiled an anti-racism education resource list—including articles, books, guides, and podcasts.
Challenge Your Own Racism and that of Others
Organize and participate in within-identity group spaces to gain self-awareness around implicit and explicit biases and participation in upholding and strategies to dismantle white supremacy. For example, participate in NYU’s White Administrators Talk Race (Click “apply for membership” All those who “apply” will be added to the email list) or organize a group to implement Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook challenge.
Raise awareness and talk about/acknowledge ongoing and historical roots of racial violence and oppression of Black and Brown communities with family, friends, colleagues, peers, students, etc.
Challenge and address acts of racism and oppression
Educate yourself and stay informed. Engage with current and historical works, such as:
- History of Police Brutality in America
- The Case for Reparations
- 1619 Project
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- A Guide for Sustaining Conversations on Racism, Identity, and our Mutual Reality by Steve Burghardt, Kalima DeSuze, Linda Lausell Bryant, & Mohan Vinjamuri
- 13th documentary
Contact Your Members of Congress
Contact your Congressional representative to endorse the resolution introduced by Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05), in partnership with Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) denouncing police brutality, racial profiling, and use of excessive force.