During the summer of 2020, protesters flooded the streets outraged by the deaths of George Floyd and other black Americans. Voices across the country have erupted demanding an end to violence against minorities, as well as fairness for minority groups in traditionally white spaces.
The School of Drama and Dance Arts at the University of Northern Colorado has begun to respond to that call. While the school has taken steps such as introducing its Anti-Racism Action Plan and the ability to give voice to under-represented students through its Student Equity Advisory Council, the school has took another step towards equality this year by forming an alliance with Broadway for racial justice.
Rebecca Rich, Acting Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Drama at the School of Theater Arts and Dance, sought the alliance after hearing Broadway for Racial Justice Executive Director Brandon Nase speak at a virtual event called Broadway Advocacy Coalition in January. 2021. Although the school achieved the Ally designation in April, according to Rich, it is difficult to know the effects of the alliance on students since the school has only resumed classes since late August.
Rich says she’s happy to have this ally in place to help students and faculty avoid
damaging interactions regarding race.
“I have the impression that the BFRJ is a good sounding board in this regard to help me, to help my students, to help me to help the professors, and to other of my peers and my colleagues in terms of this. what’s going on in their rooms and how they can prevent future adverse events to the best of their ability and how to deal with the damage repair right now, ”said Rich.
The alliance gives students access to a greater number of resources in areas such as amplification, funding of shows and a hotline that can be used to report incidents of racism in workplaces and institutions. theatrical.
Micah Lawrence, an acting major junior, says organizations like this offer
support for people of color.
“It’s nice to know that there is an organization that is doing something for us…
For much of its existence, the theater was dominated by white males. From its early Greek performances that prohibited women from joining men on stage, to plays by white male playwrights like Henrik Ibsen, Tennessee Williams and Anton Tchekhov, and to guidance manuals for directors written by men like Francis Hodge, the White men have played a dominant role in the formation and history of the theater.
Lawrence says that while the Broadway Alliance for Racial Justice is a good implementation, marginalized students still struggle with a lack of representation in the theater program as nearly all of the teachers in the schools are white.
“I think it will be beneficial, but it’s hard to invoke change when the people who are trying to invoke change are nothing like us,” Lawrence said. “It’s a good step, but it’s still not enough.”
Rich shared that the school recognizes that changes are yet to be made.
“We know that there is still work to be done, and that this is not a race and that
collaboration takes time, ”said Rich.