College of the Arts Community Pledge in Support of Black Lives Matter

The CSULB College of the Arts Community Pledge in Support of Black Lives Matter

As artists/educators/scholars/colleagues within the CSU System we accept the vital responsibility entrusted to us to create educational constructs for future members of the arts community.  We prepare our students not only to explore and reconceive ideologies within their chosen disciplines, but through their art to shape, impact and remold our communities and culture.

We acknowledge that our society is founded on a complex system of racism and anti-Blackness, which continues to disproportionately perpetuate negative outcomes for Black students, Black educators, and Black artists as well as indigenous people and people of color. The impact and damage of anti-Blackness in America, while increasingly visible in this moment, have been present for the past 400 years. The consequence of this systematic racism is that the unique and necessary achievements of Black people and people of color often go unrecognized, co-opted or muted. Black students, artists and educators are too often “othered” -- made to feel unwelcome, and unsupported. They find their work, their experiences, and their concerns trivialized or ignored in public university settings.  This is wrong.  

Black students matter.  

Black artists matter.  

Black communities matter.  

Black educators matter.  

Black colleagues matter.

Individually and as an organization, we are committed to actions that reinforce statements condemning anti-Black racism and its impact on the arts, art education, and society in general. We commit to doing the work that actively demonstrates that Black Lives Matter. We pledge to:  

  • Listen to and hear our Black colleagues, students, artists, and community members; recognize their experiences, and validate their concerns;
  • Continue to work on unlearning the impact of anti-Blackness and racism in our own lives and practices by holding one another accountable for our actions and words; 
  • Acknowledge the privilege -unearned advantage- that exist for many of us and use it to advocate for and with our Black colleagues, students, artists, and community members;
  • Support policies that advocate for social equality and intentionally work to diversify our staff and faculty;
  • Find ways to respect, highlight, and learn from the work of Black students, artists, and educators. Find ways to respect, highlight, and learn from the work of students, artists, and educators of color and communities that have been traditionally “othered.”

By taking these initial steps, as individuals and as an organization, we can begin the work of dismantling anti-Black racism and oppression that exists in our communities, in our university, and in the arts in America. We pledge to elevate Black voices and the voices of people of color by recognizing their current and historic arts and cultural achievements, encouraging our students to explore artwork by Black artists and other people of color, and by hosting community dialogues regarding the future of the arts. We pledge to challenge anti-Black discourses and policies that continue to harm Black artists, Black students, Black educators, Black colleagues and, by extension, our society at large.

The CSULB College of the Arts, in formulating and drafting this Pledge, took inspiration and guidance from a number of organizations and leaders, including the California Council on Teacher Education.