Black Lives Matter
As Black Lives Matter activists across the globe continue to expose and actively dismantle the insidious ways in which white supremacy has shaped and destroyed individuals, communities and systems of communication and power, we, the department of Film and Media Culture (FMMC), are examining how to be a more active part of creating an inclusive, just, and anti-racist society.
Black lives matter. The lives of Indigenous, People of Color and LGBTQI people matter. But it is not enough to simply say that we acknowledge the humanity of people who have been systematically oppressed.
We acknowledge that the history of film and media was built on racist and exclusionary narratives and practices. We are committed to calling them out for what they are, and to highlighting the historical contributions of Black people in film and media culture.
We acknowledge that our classrooms, curricula, and campus reflect implicit and explicit biases, which create unsafe and unsupportive spaces for our Black students. We are committed to name, interrogate, and undo these biases, and to make our department more welcoming and supportive for our Black students.
We acknowledge that as instructors we have the power to reframe our curricula to highlight the work of Black creators and scholars and to foster an anti-racist enviornment where all students are welcome. We also have the power to more appropriately acknowledge and enable the advancement of not only Black but all underrepresented, historically marginalized people.
We Commit to Action
We commit as a department to do the work within ourselves and within our curriculum to create meaningful and lasting change in our classrooms. Our first steps are bold statements:
Commitment to Programming BIPOC Voices
We commit to dedicate 50% of our public-facing department programming to work by creators who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). This programming includes but is not limited to, invited guest speakers, the Hirschfield Series and workshops.
Actively Work to Decolonize FMMC Curriculum
Working closely with the Anderson Freeman Resource Center and CCSRE, we commit to convening twice a semester as a department to examine our syllabi and teaching methods in order to decenter the white experience in our collective work.
Create a Fund for BIPOC Student Work
We commit to creating a grant to financially support media which foregrounds stories about the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the United States. Students will go through a rigorous application process, but do not need to be majors or minors in FMMC to be awarded funding. Much of the funding will go toward finishing projects, making ongoing projects sustainable, and/or pursuing distribution via film festivals and contests. We are working together as a department to refine the details of this grant and look forward to sharing more as soon as possible.
As a department we fully commit ourselves to the ongoing fight against white supremacy and all systems of oppression that deny, negate and demean the lives of Black people and their historical, intellectual and creative contributions to our field and beyond.
- The Faculty and Staff of Middlebury’s Department of Film and Media Culture, June 2020