A Letter to Theatre and Dance Students

Black Lives Matter sign

Dear Theatre & Dance Students,

We stand in solidarity with those protesting. Black lives matter.

It must stop. The killing must stop. We must stop white supremacy. We must all do the work to end it. TOGETHER, WE WILL END IT.

We believe in the value of Black lives.

We commit to cultivating learning and awareness.

We value multiplicity.

We embrace challenges.

We summon breath. 


Our department strives to play a vital role in the lives of our students, our art form and our society, therefore we add our voice to the collective call to action here at Western. Please see the President’s statement and the resolution adopted by Faculty Senate this week supporting recommendations by the Black Student Union and African Caribbean Club on how faculty can support Students of Color.

We acknowledge that as a predominately white faculty at a predominantly white university, we specifically, can and must play a role in calling out, reversing, and beginning to heal the systemic racism that permeates our society at all levels. As a department we must reflect on our own behaviors, practices, and policies, and we look forward to working in partnership with our students to do so. The same risks we ask of our students, we must ask of ourselves: honesty, vulnerability, empathy, trust, and the courage to act. 

We are committed to creating and fostering a diverse and equitable community of performing artists. We fervently agree with those who call for justice and an end to violence against Black Americans, and further, against all Persons of Color, Indigenous Peoples, and any member of our society who has been othered. We stand with all efforts to dismantle discrimination, racism, and white supremacy in all its forms.

We are following the lead of our students’ call for action.

Caring for each other is action. Many of us have been reaching out to family, friends, alums, and current Students of Color, to listen and support, and to ask if they’ve been staying hydrated, getting rest, eating, and taking kind care of themselves. We encourage you to do the same.

Educating ourselves is action. Many of our students are gathering resources and sharing them, and we will create a resource page where they can be easily accessible to all of our students. Below are some additional resources that different faculty & staff members have studied and recommend.



Watch (on Netflix)

  • 13th
  • Dear White People
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • The Hate You Give
  • Bamboozled (available at WWU library)


Donating is action. As state employees, we cannot endorse non-profit or political organizations.  Students have compiled a list of organizations; we encourage you to share them with one another.  We wish we could include them here.  Types of organizations to research include: police reform, police use of force, cash bail reform, mutual aid, and support for peaceful protests.

Advocacy is action. Again, research organizations who share your values and get involved and help to amplify their message.

Peaceful protesting is action. If you chose to protest, please be cognizant of the health and safety of yourself and others; remember to practice social distancing and wear a mask. The next protests scheduled in Bellingham are:

Friday, June 5th at 3:00pm, meet in Red Square, WWU.

Saturday, June 6th 3:00pm, meet downtown in front of the courthouse.

Finally, voting is action.  If you are not registered to vote, please do so here: https://www.sos.wa.gov/elections/register.aspx

During these painful times, we can find wisdom from leaders such as Desmond Tutu, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Thank you for your patience while we took the time to listen and learn and work together before we communicated with you.

-WWU Theatre & Dance Faculty & Staff (signed below)

Rich Brown

Beth Leonard

Ashley VanCurler

Erin Emry

Kamarie Chapman

Deb Currier

Evan Mueller

Pam Kuntz

DeLisle Merrill

Jim Lortz

Savannah LeCornu

Amber Pacifico

Lamby Hedge

Susan Haines

Rachel Anderson

Penny Hutchinson

Marc Mixon

Darren McCroom

Authored on

Jun 5, 2020 8:37am