Standing in Solidarity

Posted on June 1, 2020

The words "Black Lives Matter" in white against a black background

Dear School of Art community,

In the wake of the racist killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and as our nation continues to struggle under the weight of its own historical and present racism against Black Americans, I am reaching out to reaffirm that the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University is a community empowered by our differences and diversity. We must also, however, acknowledge that our differences position members of our community unequally in relation to our country’s sustained, structural racism and the acts of violence to which it gives birth. While I cannot presume to fully understand the pain and anger felt by those whose daily lives are affected by the cruelty and inequity of systemic racism, it is imperative for those of us in positions of privilege to acknowledge and act against systemic racism’s unceasing harm on our society and its inability to provide a safe and just life for all people.

This is not about art or academia. It is, rather, about being humane and forcefully countering the ways in which our society reinforces inhumane ways of being. That said, I believe that, at our best, artists hold a particular place in witnessing the present and archiving the past; we render, record, recall, reenact, and reimagine so that we might never forget; so that those who prefer to look away might learn and change; and so that a just future can be envisioned. 

At this time of multiple, intersecting challenges, the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University extends its belief in justice and opportunity for all people, and stands in solidarity with those who suffer most under our country’s unjust institutions and structures.


Charlie White
Regina and Marlin Miller Head of School
School of Art
Professor of Art
Carnegie Mellon University