A statement from the Department of Performing and Media Arts

June 3, 2020

Racial Justice Resources 

Please return to this page for upcoming expansions of our resource list, with an emphasis on work in the arts and humanities.

Recommended Coursework


To the members of our communities:

We in Performing and Media Arts condemn acts of violence against Black people, including the recent and highly publicized murders by police of George Floyd in Minnesota and of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and by civilians of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. This most recent wave of violence occurs during a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown people, and it reveals deep systemic inequities bred by the scourge of racism that has plagued us for centuries, with insufficient resources allocated to its eradication. We acknowledge that our nation’s founding is imbricated with histories of racial violence, police brutality, mass incarceration, settler colonialism, and xenophobia. We affirm our allegiance to Black and allied protesters, within and beyond Cornell, who are indicting structural, systemic racism and demanding change. As we continue our commitment to affirming those who have been historically marginalized, we must recognize the impact of racial profiling and racial violence on our colleagues, students, staff, and community members.  

PMA stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As a department, we are dedicated to understanding racial injustice and its history as deeply as possible, as well as to working proactively to end our complicity in it and to dismantle it. We will continually recommit ourselves to combating racism, discrimination, and bigotry in all its virulent forms in our curriculum, teaching, and mentoring; in our art-making and programming; in our administrative structures; in our activism both on and off campus; and in our unwavering support of our students, colleagues, and staff. We acknowledge the pain and anguish of the Black members of our communities, and we hold space for your experiences. We vow to continue asking the hard questions of ourselves and of each other, and to generating solutions that may be difficult for those in power or positions of privilege to accept. We welcome robust conversation about how the artistic and scholarly work that we undertake can contribute meaningfully toward these goals.

Our concrete actions include these items: (1) We pledge to spend the summer thinking and talking in precise detail about how we will publicly present work that explicitly addresses the racial injustice identified in this statement. (2) We commit meaningful resources to building on our summer planning and making such public-facing work when we are able to do so in the fall and beyond. (3) We rededicate ourselves to the work of educating for justice in our classes, studios, and artistic productions. 

Please contact us at any time with questions, concerns, advice, and other forms of feedback. We are here to listen.  

Exterior of the Schwartz Center on a sunny day