Dean Carol Becker responds to recent hate crimes in Atlanta
March 19, 2021
Dear School of the Arts Community:
I write in response to the brutal murder of eight people this past Tuesday in Atlanta, seven of whom were women, and six of whom were of Asian descent. This racist, misogynist murder of innocent women is a hate crime of enormous proportion. Coming as it does after years of reckoning and protest by the thousands of people who participated in Black Lives Matter demonstrations, it marks yet another incident of rampant killing, exposing the systemic racism and white supremacy prevalent in the United States for hundreds of years, including in U.S. institutions and in individuals who unfortunately were further empowered by four years of a Presidency that encouraged divisive actions.
The School of the Arts condemns such crimes of hatred. We are a community that believes humanity is best served by a diverse population coming together to encourage the most caring and equitable relationships between people. Hatred is a divisive reality that exists throughout the world. The U.S. has a terrible history of violence against women and people of color, but there are many in this country, many, who condemn racism and misogyny, who have no interest in fostering these aberrations and who work actively, every day to ameliorate them. We align with those working to improve our humanity by opening our minds and hearts to a world where all are cared for equally. We understand that we have much in common with each other, while also embracing our differences as essential to the human spirit and to its creativity. We condemn those whose ignorance and deep-seated hatred and feelings of inferiority lead them to horrific crimes against humanity––not just the humanity of others, but their own, and ours. Such violence cannot be tolerated.
We come together as a School of the Arts: Art is a powerful, perhaps the most powerful, tool of communication. Let us use our creativity to imagine a world without such violence, stupidity, hatred and rage. Let us work every day to transform the larger world and our own community to become the place where we all feel safe and can manifest the best of our humanity in our work and in our actions. This can be our shared goal.
Dean of Columbia University School of the Arts