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Black Lives Matter at SMU Meadows

From Dean Sam Holland

I simply haven’t known what to say, but in my heart I know that silence is wrong when so many are deeply hurting. I also believe that we can't afford to be shocked or surprised into inaction. Racism is, and has been, systemic in America's institutions, including our own, for generations. We can and must do better than sharing a social media post here and there.

Within the last week, our Meadows community has been feeling righteous anger for the way the Black community has been treated in our country and deep anxiety about returning to work amid a global pandemic. Many of us have experienced a mixture of fear, grief, uncertainty and rage. Let us do our best to turn these into resolve.

Condolences aren’t enough. We must continue to examine and rethink the systems that oppress Black people and other people of color. We need to amplify their voices, talk to our families and friends, share stories that help our communities and stand in solidarity. We need to do all of this and more. We must not be silent. We must move together towards forging a more just society.

I’m asking myself and I ask of you all the following: How can we become stronger allies to our Black friends and colleagues? How do we better support our Black students and other students of color? What is the best way that I can personally contribute to the change I want to see? To start, I have personally made a donation to a GoFundMe project called SMU Black Lives Matter. It was started by Meadows students Tyne Dickson and Laura Scott Cary. It will fund apparel to be distributed for free on campus to create a welcoming environment to Black students. I hope you will join me in showing them that their movement is important. At Meadows, starting a movement is more than a slogan.

I also hope you will read this article from the Daily Campus and examine these additional resources here and here.

We cannot allow the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery to be lost. Using the creativity that connects all of us at Meadows, may our work reflect our ongoing commitment to ensuring that our world is truly changed and their deaths are not in vain.

Artists, arts leaders, communicators, designers and educators all have a unique opportunity and indeed, a responsibility to shape culture and lead in the change work necessary to improve our society. In the Meadows mission, one of our values states, "We approach our work with passion, stand with conviction, and take care of each other." As more of us begin our return to campus, I implore you to stand with conviction on behalf of our Black students, faculty and staff, and please take care of each other.

Black Lives Matter. 

Algur H. Meadows Dean
Professor of Music

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