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Dear SMFA Students and Community,

I write to you in the wake of the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop and far too many others, to affirm on behalf of my faculty and staff colleagues that we share your grief, your anger, and your despair.

These victims join a long line of Black and Brown people who have been killed by those with ideologies steeped in white supremacy and anti-trans violence. We also acknowledge that this ideology is at the root of the wildly disproportionate loss of Black and Brown lives from COVID-19 and of the special stigmatizing during the pandemic of people of Asian descent.

We reiterate our goals of extirpating the ideology and material harms of white supremacy from our school and materially supporting our Black and Brown students. These goals demand unending vigilance on the part of every member of our community, and particularly our faculty and staff. We pledge to continue to engage in concrete and visible anti-racist actions and initiatives and understand that we need to learn to listen carefully to our students of color while assuming the responsibility for substantive and tangible change.

We further pledge to redouble our commitment to educating ourselves and to inaugurate new initiatives that will actively showcase the voices of our students, faculty, and staff of color. We will continue the work of decolonizing our curricula and syllabi and diversifying our faculty.

We are in awe of the way that all of our students persevered during the second half of this past semester. We rejoice in your talent as artists in calling out and fighting injustice. And we are determined to support you in concrete ways.

We will continue to grieve with you. We promise to listen carefully to you and to honor your voices, your ideas, your emotions, your rage, your sorrow, and your artistry.

I know that all members of our community are committed in our conscious minds and in our hearts to racial and ethnic justice. But the fact is that white privilege is embedded in the mental and emotional DNA of people like me. Substantial change requires that we commit and re-commit ourselves mindfully, whole-heartedly, and daily to the painful but critical work of facing and consciously working on changing our own mindsets through active anti-racism efforts and by acknowledging and supporting the longstanding and ongoing efforts and labor of our colleagues of color.

To that end, I will soon be starting, and participating in, an online group for reading, viewing, and discussing anti-racist readings and works of art. All members of our community will be invited to participate in this initiative, and I include some sources of relevant readings below for your consideration.

As we launch this project this summer, I welcome any thoughts you may have about other ways to undertake the work of continuously decolonizing our school. You can reach me via email or communicate your thoughts anonymously via the SMFA Virtual Suggestion Box.

Nancy Bauer Signature

Nancy Bauer
School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

Some Anti-Racism Resources

Tufts Identity-Based Centers include the Africana Center, the Asian American Center, the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, the FIRST Resource Center, the Latino Center, the LGBT Center, and the Women’s Center. You can find links to all these communities and learn more about their ongoing work here.

For more information on Tufts support for diversity and inclusion, visit the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer.

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