Statement in Support of Black Lives

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The faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Art, Art History, & Visual Studies state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and connected international campaigns in condemning antiblack racism, police brutality, and the violence and loss inflicted on the Black community through the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, Riah Milton, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others. 

As a community we recognize the responsibility that our department has to cultivate equity within Duke as an institution and the larger Durham community as a whole. Effective immediately, our department will examine its commitment to anti-racism, social justice, and equity by taking concrete steps to refocus our curriculum, openly discuss our departmental and disciplinary culture, and solidify our institutional commitments to diversity and inclusion. Above all, we are committed to taking collective and individual action toward dismantling systemic racism in our department, academia, and the arts.

We will

  • transform our curriculum to address equality and social justice directly, particularly highlighting anti-racist methodologies;
  • alter our staff and faculty hiring and student admissions priorities to accelerate diversity in our department;
  • promote dialogue through internally and externally focused initiatives on Black Lives Matter, dismantling white supremacy, and abolishing racism;
  • augment mentoring for graduate students and faculty of color; 
  • develop networks of support for faculty, students, and staff of color, including mechanisms for reporting that extend beyond individual practice and lead to departmental dialogue and action; 
  • create a departmental task force composed of faculty, staff, and students to fulfill these goals. The task force will develop clearly defined action items and timetables to be shared publicly and reviewed every semester by the department’s executive committee for accountability.

As we move towards positive growth, we acknowledge, as individuals and as a department, that we have blind spots in our current structures that are in need of correction. In the coming weeks, we will announce the departmental task force, which will publicize its first timeline for action on August 17, 2020.