PAFA’s Statement Against Hate
The social and racial unrest that erupted across the nation in 2020 has been a wake-up call. We still mourn the loss of Black and Brown lives due to police violence and the racial attacks on the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community that has escalated since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) stands against discrimination and hate against all people and actively supports the AAPI community. We further urge all PAFA community members to continue to uphold our shared core values of diversity and inclusion at this challenging moment in our national history.
Recommitment to Black Lives Matter
We recognize that racially motivated violence results from a long history of exclusionary laws and policies throughout our nation’s history. As we await the Chauvin trial's outcome, we want to renew our commitment to the fundamental belief that Black Lives Matter. This week, we saw the loss of life once again; for Daunte Wright and countless others. Their deaths are a stark reminder that policing in America needs close examination to promote justice for all people.
At PAFA, we remain vigilant and recommit to the critical acts of self-reflection and self-criticism required to examine our privilege and to evolve how we engage with our students, our audiences, and our communities. This case's verdict will not determine or deter our commitment to this cause, only strengthen our resolve.
Response to anti-Asian Violence
Racially motivated acts of violence are rooted in a long, shameful history of discrimination, degradation, and marginalization of the AAPI community by our society as a whole. Fueled by insensitive and unjustifiable microaggressions, we are appalled by the anti-Asian sentiments of the past and present. Anti-Asian discrimination has no place at PAFA. We strive to ensure equity, inclusion, and dignity for members of the AAPI community.
We, the Board, students, faculty, staff and community members of PAFA, stand in solidarity with the AAPI community against the horrific acts of violence in recent months, and we mourn those who have lost their lives.
Support is Available
At PAFA, we are deeply committed to ethnic, cultural, gender, and artistic diversity and inclusion in our board, student body, faculty, staff, and volunteers and actively seek to reflect diverse audiences' needs in our programs and collections. We embrace the lives, histories, and plurality of our community members and we foster and encourage a sense of belonging in all that we do. Any act of hate, violence, and othering is unacceptable.
Hearing of, witnessing, or being a victim of inhuman acts of hate is difficult and takes a physical, emotional, and mental toll. Oftentimes, very real feelings of fear, sadness, and insecurity can result in anxiety and more. Our Office of Institutional Safety and Equity is here to assist you and take your experience very seriously. You also have access to free, confidential, face-to-face counseling through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Penn Behavioral Health. You can access this benefit at any time by calling 1-888-321-4433 or, if you prefer, go online to www.pennbehavioralhealth.org.
If you have safety concerns or need the assistance of any kind, we encourage each of you to speak out if you witness unjust acts or behaviors that violate the principles on our campus or toward any of our community members. Members of PAFA's Office of Institutional Safety and Equity team are available.
We recognize, however, that situations may arise when a student or member of our faculty or staff may be reluctant to report what they saw or know out of fear of reprisal or retaliation. In those instances, PAFA has selected EthicsPoint, an external third party, to assist you. Through this system, allegations can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a confidential setting without fear of reprisal by either dialing (844) 796-6532 or by visiting the website http://pafa.ethicspoint.com/.
We are committed to fulfilling our Principles of Conduct and assisting our community in doing the same. All members of our community deserve to feel safe and valued, and we remain committed to creating an environment of belonging, of safety, and respect.
--Written in collaboration with the faculty and staff of BELONGING, PAFA’s DEIB Committee, and the Office of Institutional Safety and Equity.