June 3, 2020
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
(1924-1987; American novelist, playwright, poet, and activist)
The faculty, staff, and students of the Performing Arts programs at Santa Rosa Junior College (Music, Theatre Arts, SRT, and Dance) raise our voices to join the swelling chorus of solidarity with those crying out their truth and with all those sounding the clarion call that Black Lives Matter and major social change is needed. While we continually strive for equality, mutual respect, and the celebration of all individuals, cultures, and races in our programs, it is clear that there is much more work ahead.
We commit ourselves to listen, to learn, to grow, and most importantly,
to identify and effect positive change wherever it is needed…
in our classrooms and rehearsal halls and on our stages;
in the selection, production, and interpretation of our artistic works;
in the recruitment of future students, faculty, and staff;
in our interactions with students, colleagues, and our audiences;
in our relationships with our communities;
and in our own lives.
Throughout history, the performing arts have provided release, reflection, and a call to action, helping to shape our world. Human beings have gathered together for millennia to share the pain, passion, and pratfalls of human experience as musicians, dancers, and theatre artists breathe life into art.
“To breathe together” is the root meaning of the word conspire. While the word may now have a negative connotation, its origin captures the essence of what we do in the performing arts…the artists and audience breathe together in the same space. In a sense, we conspire together to accept the art performed as conveying “truth”, of speaking to the human condition.
And in so doing, we share, we learn, and we grow.
Right now, we cannot breathe together. Tragically, George Floyd will never breathe again. And Black Americans have been gasping for breath for centuries. But if we hold fast to a commitment to make real, positive systemic change…if we conspire together to face what must be faced, there may come a time when we can all truly breathe together.
Faculty, Staff, and Students of the Performing Arts at SRJC