Northern Michigan University Department of Theatre and Dance Anti-Racism Statement
For as long as we can remember, the American Theatre has celebrated diversity. It has been a home where marginalized individuals have been able to find a safe space to be their true, authentic selves. It has always been a place of exploration and development, a place where hate and discrimination are not tolerated, where the story and the people in it reign supreme. The space within a theater’s walls has always been advertised as welcoming to people of all backgrounds. The work done onstage is meant to be a representation of life and the world around us. But how true can this representation of life really be? How can these spaces be truly welcoming? How can this celebration of diversity truly exist and how can the story and people reign supreme while there is a lack of BIPOC representation on and off the stages of the American Theatre? The answer is it cannot. Racism and white supremacy exist outside the confines of the horrendous acts of violence we see so often; they exist in our daily conversations, in the power structures of our institutions, in the stories we tell, and the representations we present on our stages. From perfectionism to power hoarding, our system is built to uphold the characteristics of white supremacy and privilege. We must examine and dismantle these characteristics before we can truly think of our industry, and ourselves, as diverse and welcoming to all.
NMU Theatre and Dance pledges to be a safe, inclusive department, welcoming of every race, religion, ability, orientation, and identification. We are committed to an expanded curriculum that educates our students on the diverse backgrounds our industry and nation were built on. We’re also committed to expanded production offerings that not only lift up the countless voices that our industry has failed to give a voice to, but showcase talent that mirrors the world in which we all live. We are committed to the continued practice of virtual program auditions, zero program application fees, and equal opportunities for all students within our programs. We also pledge to create a more diverse hiring practice for all faculty, instructors, staff, and students.
We acknowledge that this work will not be easy; in that, we admit we will fail at times. We pledge to accept and acknowledge any error and use it as an opportunity to pause and further educate ourselves on the work. It is our responsibility to continually examine the ways that white supremacist culture, anti-blackness, LGBTQ+ discrimination, AAPI hate, anti-indigenous racism, ableism, and all other forms of antihuman behavior have found their way into the stories we tell and the industry we work in, and eliminate that culture.