The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the often violent response to Black Lives Matter protestors over the last two weeks, challenge all of us who care for the members of our communities to work to replace the systems of inequality that have been built up over centuries. Segregation, redlining, employment discrimination and an often abusive criminal justice system were designed to disadvantage Black families, and it is naive and dishonest to think this is all somehow in the past. As recent events have again made clear, we do not live in a post-racial society, and while the harmful effects of systemic racism fall on all people of color, the scourge of violent police practices is particularly destructive in Black communities.

Many of our students, staff and faculty have been participating in protests here in Greensboro and elsewhere. This is important and necessary work for pushing the society towards justice and real equality. I don’t have any way of knowing what will happen in the future, but I am heartened to see the effort being driven by a diverse, committed and often very young core of activists and supporters. Like so many of the students I have seen in our classrooms and studios the last few years, these young people have a real vision of a better, more tolerant and more just world.

I would ask all of us in the School of Art to work towards that vision, with passion and commitment and a radical empathy for each other.

Chris Cassidy
Director, School of Art