We are tired of bearing traumas, tired of empty responses, and tired of little action…
BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance was founded on the need for social change and equality on our campus. As students from the theatre department, Teresa Ascencio and I (Victoria Silva), have witnessed first hand the way that whiteness permeates even the most creative of fields, silencing minority voices in the name of upholding archaic systems riddled with white power structures, bias, and discrimination that support racism. When the Black Student Manifesto was released to campus, BIPOC PAA was excited to see solutions and a push for change, and we applaud every Black student on this campus who has come forward with their experiences to hold our administrative bodies accountable for the traumas they inflict on their most marginalized and vulnerable students. However, on the 19th of October at the administration’s discussion Town Hall, we as an organization and as a campus community were utterly appalled by the evasive and disingenuous responses, continued inaction, and frankly insulting conduct shown to us by the highest bracket of power at this institution. The College of Wooster is a predominantly white institution, and as such, this college has prioritized its white faculty, staff, and students by denying the school more Black faculty, more Black counselors, and an overall more equitable environment for our Black population. With this in mind:
BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance denounces any and all forms of racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, and any other methods of discrimination that have permeated on this campus. We stand strongly and fervently with our Black student body to renounce and hold our institution accountable for the continued harm they have created over decades of time. Any of our resources, time, and focus that can be put towards change and proliferation of said change will be immediately committed to that cause, for this is a fight for Black lives, and Black lives have always and WILL ALWAYS MATTER.
We are not the first to fight this battle, but as we continue to engage in discourse for change, we hope that we may be some of the last generations to experience the bias, racism, and discrimination that has systematically ingrained itself in this campus’s culture and has been allowed to fester since its founding. As an organization, and as people, the Board of BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance, as well as our advisor and many more who have joined our framework since our creation, sign below to dedicate ourselves to the statement of solidarity written above. BIPOC PAA was created for the betterment of our community and denounces any tokenization or sugar coating from any administrative force that seeks to use it as such. We are run by BIPOC students, primarily for BIPOC students in the performing arts and beyond, and we hope to
continue to create a safe haven for discussion, resources, and artistic collaboration for many years to come.
Teresa Isabel Ascencio
Rickey D. Cooper
Jimmy A. Noriega