To our Department of Art History-URDS community,
Our program was founded on a belief in the transformative power of art, but it is made up of people. We are witnessing some of the darkest and most difficult days for our nation, one riven with division —and we cannot claim neutrality. We mourn and grieve with you. We are with you in sharing the heartbreak and outrage at the senseless loss of Black American lives, including those of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many other victims of apalling brutality, each precious life senselessly taken. Despite whatever gains have been made in the last several decades, there have been too many symbolic victories. The terrible truths of which we are being starkly reminded have plagued our society for centuries in many forms.
We have been forced to confront these truths while grappling with a global pandemic — that in turn has laid bare shocking anti-Asian and anti-immigrant violence — and while caring for our loved ones, tending to our communities, and continuing to work, persevering as best we can as we continue to witness intolerable abuses. And that which we have witnessed we cannot unsee.
Our own Department and University at large cannot divorce itself from the struggle. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and all the people of New York and those around the country and the world appealing for an end to racism, inequality, brutality, and fear. We do so in recognition of the great amount of work to be done to achieve true social justice and to fight institutional and structural racism. In our own right, the DAH-URDS is committed to be a place of inclusion, diversity, and equality for everyone in our community. This is a time to raise our voices in a loud cry for social justice and to be accountable for our shared humanity. It is also the time to listen and learn. To this end, we look forward to hosting forums as early as this fall to bring together diverse voices in the spirit of community.
We draw inspiration from the power of human expression and the courage, openness, and commitment of those who continue to advocate for progress through word and action. And we draw inspiration from all of you, our students past and present, in harboring the hope for a more just and equitable future.
In solidarity and support,
Chair, Department of Art History
June 3, 2020