All-female response to all-male ballet interview

In “A Conversation With 3 Choreographers Who Reinvigorated Ballet,” The New York Times interviewed Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon. One question at issue was: “Most of the major choreographers in classical dance are men. Why is that?” Two Juilliard dancers respond to their responses.

In “A Conversation With 3 Choreographers Who Reinvigorated Ballet,” The New York Times interviewed Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon. One question at issue was: “Most of the major choreographers in classical dance are men. Why is that?” Peck said women needed to be encouraged to “explore that choreographic side of their brains” at a younger age. Wheeldon, while noting the “obvious imbalance,” said directors “would love to” hire female choreographers and added, “I don’t think overt misogyny is at work.” Ratmansky had perhaps the most interesting response: “I don’t see it as a problem. Besides Crystal Pite, Jessica Lang and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa are among the very best now. And Graham and Nijinska are still performed. I’m sure that if new, interesting talent arrives and is a woman, she will have equal opportunities.” Below, two Juilliard dancers respond.

Taylor Massa ’20:
One of the major problems here is that the question was posed to three male choreographers. If a real, genuine answer was desired, the question should have been asked of female choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Jessica Lang, etc. From a woman’s perspective, they would have explained how difficult it is to be taken seriously as a higher ranking female in the dance world no matter the quality of your work. The majority of artistic directors are male and they are the ones who choose the choreographers they want their companies to work with. Men respect men more than men respect women and that is shown by this obvious imbalance within the industry.

Cleo Person ’16:
I think Taylor brought up a great valid point that when this question is posed to three male choreographers we don’t get a very full perspective. I think it’s important to note the the question was posed specifically about the world of “classical dance.” I believe it’s an important distinction to make, instead of trying to generalize about the dance field as a whole, because there are such different traditions that still hold sway in a powerful way in the ballet world. These structures seem more or less built into the art form itself, as gender roles often play a big part in the narratives of many the classic choreographies of the last couple centuries, and even more so in the company structures. Classical dance companies also seem to be more tied to their traditional economic support structures and patrons, which makes the small individual company structures many female choreographers in more contemporary domains have populated in the last few decades more challenging for the classical world to adopt. Classical companies still largely exist in the format of repertory companies with male artistic directors who commission choreographers, and within this dynamic, they do seem, for the most part, still less likely to commission women.

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What do you think? Add your voice in the comments below!

“Who is White in Trump’s America?

By Michelle Geffner ’19: …what, exactly, does it mean to be “white”? Or more presently, what does it mean to be “white” in Trump’s America? All my twenty years, I’ve been told by other people how I look. Raised by a blue-eyed dad and obtaining a good deal of his genetic markers, I don’t resemble the poster child of a first generation Asian-American, although I am. I probably don’t evoke the image of a third generation Jewish-American, but I am.…

I felt guilty on January 28. I almost forgot about the Lunar New Year. I know, the rooster is not the most impressive of zodiac signs, but still. This symbolic, flightless bird fell behind the front of my consciousness because I’m half Asian, but I wasn’t raised to be. I mean, I wasn’t raised by anyone Asian. And, in the midst of our political climate, I find myself increasingly aware of this rather disconcerting spectrum of “whiteness”— a concept ever changing in both color and definition. More specifically, since this piece of writing wasn’t intended to be an act of self-indulgence or the verbal vomit of a college student or whatever else it should be called, I must ask: what, exactly, does it mean to be “white”? Or more presently, what does it mean to be “white” in Trump’s America?

All my twenty years, I’ve been told by other people how I look. Raised by a blue-eyed dad and obtaining a good deal of his genetic markers, I don’t resemble the poster child of a first generation Asian-American, although I am. I probably don’t evoke the image of a third generation Jewish-American, but I am. These features “pass” as white, and I have no doubt that my experience has been considerably different from any other person of color because of them—this places me and people like me in a sort of ambivalent spot on the aforementioned spectrum of whiteness. Even when my grandparents came to visit from China, bearing gifts of lai see and sweet red bean pasties, the concept of an “us” was transient and dependent upon too many outside factors. You know that chant, that “Chinese, Japanese, Indian Chief” rhyme kids used to say on the playground? Yep, super racist. What a weird way to spend recess. If this isn’t proof of learned behavioral prejudice, nothing is. Anyway, I was never the butt of those jokes or that chant or any other unassuming albeit racist trope, because I never looked the part. It still hurt my feelings, but prior to the (quite recent) national dialogue that our generation has nurtured in its formative stages, children simply didn’t have the vocabulary to articulate this common playground phenomenon.

And, on the other hand, I’m not Evangelical or a Christian-American, so what’s there to do about that? It wasn’t until the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act of 1924 that Jewish people (mainly immigrating from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, etc.) were even legally considered Caucasian or “white” in this country, and yet that didn’t stop other European nations from mercilessly targeting them in the decades to follow, and to a lesser degree, to this day. We may wish to assume that we live in a time that is post-colorism, but I believe this to be untrue. I have such privilege in my paleness, that it’s almost uncomfortable to stand as a POC under a Trump administration. My privilege is that I was never forced to identify as a POC because most of the time, I wasn’t perceived as one, and sometimes I don’t know if I count or if I even have the right to decide how to self-identify. One complication for children of interracial or international backgrounds is the fact that whatever box you check, either on paper or internally, may have real, significant effects on your life. Consequently, the need for this kind of dialogue still exists.

This need, of course, is by no means a consequence of the empowerment of ethnic minorities. It really irks me to hear this argument that’s been circulating around recent polls and columns: the idea that the empowerment of oppressed peoples actually causes rift and disunity in an already flawed system, rather than being the long overdue effect—the refutation against what history has taught us to accept. Buying into the belief that minorities perpetuate prejudice by simply validating their existence as minorities is the Catch 22 of our time. Because nobody believes he or she is the “Bad Guy,” I would bet the majority of white supremacists think they are doing God’s work. And, it’s not that Trump is the first politician (or president, for that matter) to state his distaste towards those unlike himself—people lacking inheritances or namesakes or opinions differing from his own. Trump is just one figure of state who has made it quite clear that his definition of “whiteness” (or rather, “greatness”) is growing narrower—we could write a book on the many instances in which this is true, but I’ll leave it to his cabinet nominees,“alternative facts,” and Google.

The counterargument against my claims would be laughable, if they didn’t have such serious consequences. Maybe I’m in a minority here, but I am of the belief that there’s enough to go around. Enough patriotism, enough care, enough equity, enough ethics. The list of people expressing feelings of discord and injustice grows larger by the day—take for example the recent Women’s March, occurring everywhere from Washington D.C. to Paris to Cape Town to Tokyo. Historically speaking, the intersectionality of these protests is unprecedented. Regardless on where you stand politically, you must admit—these events are statistically impressive. Even if you won’t admit it, it is recorded, documented. Living history.

So, that’s what we’ve got. The rainforests are dwindling, the year is still new, and humanity is cultivating more color than ever before. Thanks for living it, and thanks for reading.

WATCH: ShoutHouse’s Inauguration Day Suprise Performance

Today marks a new era in our country. In Washington, D.C., a new administration is accepting the power of governmental leadership, and, with it, the responsibility to work as hard as they can to serve the best interests of all Americans.…

Scroll down for the performance.

Today marks a new era in our country. In Washington, D.C., a new administration is accepting the power of governmental leadership, and, with it, the responsibility to work as hard as they can to serve the best interests of all Americans. But throughout the country – and the world – many millions worry that this responsibility will be neglected. On what is traditionally a day of hope, multitudes are living in fear. Fear that their race, gender, sexual orientation, or social status will disqualify them from receiving fair and equal treatment under the law for years to come. Fear that their peaceful wishes for the world will be undermined by an ignorant head of state. Fear that their friends and neighbors may be corrupted by the hateful words of a demagogue seeking to serve the interests of the wealthy few.

We fear for the future of art, as it is one of our greatest defenses from fear. Art helps us listen to one another, to learn from those whose words we might not understand. As artists, we have a duty to create beauty in the service of truth, and to shine a light on the best and most noble aspects of human nature. Through our music and actions, we declare our opposition to the toxic divisiveness of the demagogue’s words. As Nhat Hanh said, “The only answer to fear is more understanding.” We hope that our cooperation in the service of art will serve as an example to the new administration, and to anyone who does not believe that we can work with those with views different from our own.

This video was made possible by so many incredible artists. First, Radiohead’s powerful music that inspired us to create this project. We want to thank the dozens of musicians from ShoutHouse and Juilliard who believed in us and donated their time to make this possible. Our production team (especially Jack Frerer, Liana Kleinman, and Jordan James) and those who spent countless hours making sure this looked amazing. The arrangers and orchestrators (Will Healy, Alex Burtzos, Jesse Greenberg), soloists (Zazz, Spiritchild, Black Tortuga) without whom this never would have happened. The dancers—Quilan Arnold, Zach Gonder, Mikaela Kelley—whose powerful work represented our music visually so well. Allison Mase for helping us find and organize so many people to create this project.

If you want to support independent art that allows artists from many backgrounds to work together, please donate to ShoutHouse or visit www.shouthousemusic.com.

ADD YOUR NAME: Post-Election Petition/Vow

We are individual alumni and current community members of the Juilliard School in New York. Whether or not we voted for the president-elect, we come together now to reject particular dangerous elements that arose during his campaign, elements which stand in opposition to our core values. We are taking this opportunity…

Add your name! Then share this petition with other alumni and current students, staff and faculty. Sign the vow in the form below or by clicking here.

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We are individual alumni and current community members of the Juilliard School in New York. Whether or not we voted for the president-elect, we come together now to reject particular dangerous elements that arose during his campaign, elements which stand in opposition to our core values. We are taking this opportunity to reaffirm those values and to rededicate ourselves to our personal and collective missions.

As students of and makers of art, we understand the power and sacredness of the individual voice. We will fight to empower immigrants and their descendants, LGBTQ individuals, people of color, victims of sexual assault and women. We will defend the rights of each citizen for safety and free expression. Black lives matter to us. We understand the beauty and necessity of a chorus of voices, so we will seek out differing viewpoints and strive to understand those we seem furthest from.

We understand how volatile the history of the arts has been. When we sing songs of the conquerors or co-opted songs of the oppressed, we will strive to understand the context of what we are doing.

As citizens of the inescapable globe, we reject fear of foreigners and ignorance of science. We will welcome collaboration with Muslim performers. We will do our best to make decisions at the personal level that do not add to the physical deterioration of Earth. Where there is war, we will bring art. Where there is hate, we will bring love.

We will keep watch through this administration and beyond, and sound our alarm bells each time a step is taken that brings us closer to tyranny or genocide. From the community symphony to the global film market, we know that there is an opportunity for example of leadership at every stage of our careers and lives.

At and after Juilliard, in our rehearsals, negotiations, classes, gigs and interviews, we will embrace the principals of open collaboration and rigorous citizenship. We will ask ourselves whether our actions stand in harmony with our core values. We will speak out when others are oppressed. We will question our own stances and actions. When in doubt, we will listen.

We, the undersigned, stand united against hate, fear and fascism, and encourage our governments and our shared institution to do the same.

Brooks Baldwin, Drama, Group 3
Janet Zarish, Drama, Group 5
Henry Stram, Drama, Group 6
Michael Chieffo, Drama, Group 6
Rebecca Guy, Drama, Group 7
Heather Weiss, Drama, Faculty Production Stage Manager
Emil Awad, Music, 1982
Laura Brutsman-Busch, Drama, Group 12
Susan Finch, Drama, Group 13
Ana Valdes Lim, Drama, Group 13
Clinton Archambaukt, Drama, Group 13
Albert Farrar, Drama, Group 13
Edith Polvay Kallas, Music, 1984
Melissa Gallagher, Drama, Group 14
Bradley Whitford, Drama, Group 14
Gina Bonati, Dance, BFA 1985
Christopher Durang, Drama Faculty
Rene Houtrides, Drama Faculty
Deborah Hecht, Drama Faculty
Sarah Cimino, Drama Faculty
Kate Wilson, Drama Faculty
Elizabeth Smith, Drama Faculty
Mark Olsen, Drama Faculty
Barli Nugent, Music Faculty
Jeni Dahmus Farah, Archivist
Michelle DiBucci, Music/Drama Faculty
Howie Lien, Student Affairs Staff
Tamara B Goldstein, Music (Staff Accomp 87-90, MM 1987, Prep 76-79)
Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Theatre, Guest Director
Edith Wiens, Voice Faculty
Katie Friis, Dance Staff
Irene Dowd, Dance Faculty
Kaitlin Springston, Drama Staff
Oliver Butler, Drama Staff
Lindsey Alexander, Drama Staff
Robert Wilson, Liberal Arts Faculty
Cristina Sison, Drama, Production Stage Manager
Rosalind Newman, Dance Faculty
Aaron Jaffe, Liberal Arts Faculty
Christine Dunford, Drama, Group 16
Geoffrey Lower, Drama, Group 16
Kathleen McNenny, Drama, Group 17
Isadora OBoto (Gayla Finer), Drama, Group 17
Mark Doerr, Drama, Group 19
Christina Rouner, Drama, Group 20
Eddie Buggie, Dance, 1994
Timothy Sheridan, Playwright Fellow, 1994
Paul Whitthorne, Drama, Group 24
Matthew Greer, Drama, Group 24
Matt Daniels, Drama, Group 25
Ryan Artzberger, Drama, Group 25
T.J. Kenneally, Drama, Group 25
Bill Gross, Drama, Group 25
Claire Lautier, Drama, Group 25
Sean Arbuckle, Drama, Group 25
Christian Camargo, Drama, Group 25
Maya Francine Thomas, Drama, Group 25
Tyhm Kennedy, Drama, Group 25
Danyon Davis, Drama, Group 25 & Assistant to Head of Movement/ Physical Acting, Moni Yakim
Sarah Adriance, Dance, 1995
Sara Ramirez, Drama, Group 26
Tom Story, Drama, Group 27
Rivkah Raven Wood, Drama, Group 28
Daniel Breaker, Drama, Group 31
Matthew Damico, Drama, Group 31
Samantha Soule, Drama, Group 31
Peter Douglas, Drama, Group 35
Josiane Natalie Hulgan, Music, 2005
Cara Cook Ludwig, Drama, Group 37
Adam Szymkowicz, Playwriting ’07, Literary Manager
Alejandro Rodriguez, Drama, Group 38
Dylan Moore, Drama, Group 38
Sivan Magen, MM 2008
Adrian Rosas, Music 2010
Raymond J. Lustig, DMA Composition 2010
Chelsea Feltman, Music, 2011
J. Clint Allen, Drama, Group 41
Alex Hanna, Drama, Group 41
Claire Karpen, Drama, Group 41
Gabriella Goldstein, Drama, Group 41
Macy Sullivan, Dance, 2012
Julia Coronelli, Music, 2012
Helen Cespedes, Drama, Group 42
Katherine Ella Wood, Drama, Group 42
Claire Siebers, Drama, Group 43
Brittany Vicars, Drama, Group 43
Alex Breaux, Drama, Group 43
Sam Lilja, Drama, Group 43
Kate McGonigle, Drama, Group 43
John D Harnage, Dance, 2014
Emily Bohannon, Playwright, 2014
Michael Crowley, Drama, Playwright, 2014
Hilary Bettis, Drama, Playwright, 2015
Dustin Z West, Stage Management Intern, 2015
Jonathan Caren, Drama, Playwright
Mallory Portnoy, Drama, Group 44
Jasmine Batchelor, Drama, Group 44
Eliza Huberth, Drama, Group 44
Snmak, Drama, Group 44
Adam Langdon, Drama, Group 44
Mary Chieffo, Drama, Group 44
Kelsey McMahon, Drama, Group 44
Kelsey McMahon, Drama, Group 44, 2015
Marianne Rendon, Drama, Group 45
Aurin Autry Squire, Drama, 2015
Ben Laude, Music, 2015
Max Posner, Playwriting, 2015
Emily Tate, Dance, 2015
Geneva Mattoon, Stage Management Intern, 14/15
Francesca Carpanini, Drama, Group 45
David Corenswet, Drama, Group 45
Paton Ashbrook, Drama, Group 45
Jasminn Johnson, Drama, Group 45
Gwendolyn Ellis, Drama, Group 45
Madeleine Rogers, Drama, Group 45
Forrest Malloy, Drama, Group 45
Jimmie JJ Jeter, Drama, Group 45
Hannes Otto, Drama, Group 45
Brennan Clost, Dance, 2016
Nathan Alan Davis,Playwriting ’16
Abe Koogler, Playwriting 2016
Audrey Corsa, Drama, Group 46
Eric Harper, Drama, Group 46
Isabel Arraiza, Drama, 4th Year
Pilar Nicanora Witherspoon, Drama
Victoria Pollack, Drama, 2017
Stephanie Mareen, Drama, 2017
Lauren Kathryne Donahue, Drama, Group 46
Lorrin Brubaker, Dance, 2017
Alexandra Lillian Eliot, Dance, 2017
Riley O’Flynn, Dance, 2017
Dana Pajarillaga, Dance, 2017
Jessica Moss, Drama, Second Year Playwright
Robert Blumstein, Music, 2017
Adam Rothenberg, Music, 2017
Dan Chmielinski, Music, 2017
James Anthony Tyler, Playwright 2017
Robert Blumstein, Music, 2017
Nicolette Mavroleon, Music, Voice 2017
Sebastian Zinca, Music, 2017
Jameel Amir Martin, Music 2017
Amanda Lynn Bottoms, Vocal Arts, 2017
Mariella Haubs, Violin, 2017
Anne Qian Wang, Music 2017
Miles Mykkanen, Voice, 2013, 2015, 2017
Mitchell Kuhn, 2017, Oboe
Angela Falk, Dance, 2017
Zach Green, Music 2017
Evan Fisk, Dance, 2017
Kady Evanyshyn, Voice, 2017
Will Healy, M.M. Composition, 2nd Year
Immanuel Wilkins, Jazz Studies Saxophone
J.Q. Whitcomb, Jazz, 2017
Jeffery Miller, Juilliard Jazz BM ’18
Chance Jonas-O’Toole, Music, 2018
Daniel Joseph Parker, Music, 2018
Taylor Hampton, BM Percussion, 2018
Jonathan Payne, Playwrights 2018
Connor Kim, Music, 2018
Joey Lavarias, Music 2018
Katerina Eng, Dance 2018
Andrew Robert Munn, Vocal Arts, 2018
Max Michael Grafe, Music, 2018
William Socolof, Vocal Arts, 2018
Scout James, Drama, Group 47
Elizabeth McKnight, Drama, 47
Philip Stoddard, Drama, Group 47
Toney Goins, Drama, Group 47
Manon Gage, Drama, Group 47
Madhuri Shekar, Playwriting, 2018
Jake Faunce, Drama, Group 47
Brittany Bradford, Drama, Group 47
Daniel Davila, Drama, Group 47
Haley Robinson, Drama, Group 47
Anna Tullis, Drama, Group 47
Calvin Smith, Drama, Group 47
Alicia Crowder, Drama, Group 47
Jenny Rachel Weiner, Playwright
Leigha Sinnott, Drama, Group 47
Nicholas Podany, Drama, Group 47
Allen Tedder, Drama, Group 47
Thomas Woodman, Dance, 2018
Khady Sandria Gueye, Vocal Arts, 2019
Luke Sutliff, Vocal Arts, 2019
Joan Hofmeyr, Vocal Arts, Class of 2019
Jessica Niles, Voice, 2019
Phillip Solomon, Music 2019
Jan Fuller, Music, 2019
Jeremiah Blacklow, Music, 2019
Leerone Hakami, Music, 2019
Abigel Kralik, Music, 2019
Moscelyne Zia ParkeHarrison, Dance, 2019
Hayley Mertens, Dance, 2019
Mishael J Eusebio, Voice, 2019
Michelle Geffner, Voice, 2019
Clarissa Castaneda, Dance, 2019
Evan Rogers Rapaport, Dance, 2019
Tyler Cunningham,BM Percussion 2019
Jack Kay, Vocal Arts, 2019
Anthony Bowden, Drama, Group 48
David Rosenberg, Drama, Group 48
Tracie Thomason, Drama, Group 48
Suzannah Herschkowitz, Drama, Group 48
Sebastian Arroyo, Drama, Group 48
Nate Mann, Drama, Group 48
Keshav Moodliar, Drama, Group 48
Henry Jenkinson, Drama, Group 48
Darryl Gene Daughtry, Jr., Drama, Group 48
Ramzi, Drama, Group 48
Hannah Caton, Drama, Group 48
Melissa Golliday, Drama, Group 49
Maya Thurman-Hawke, Drama, Group 49
Sekai Abeni, Drama, Group 49
Emma Grace Pfitzer Price, Drama, Group 49
Hayward Leach, Drama, Group 49
Shaun Anthony, Drama, Group 49
Mike Braugher, Drama, Group 49
Tom Blyth, Drama, Group 49
Bianca Crudo, Drama, Group 49
Lanie Jackson, Dance, 2020
Alexander Sargent, Dance, 2020
Brittany Hewitt, Vocal Arts 2020
Taylor Ann Massa, Dance, 2020
Matilda Mackey, Dance, 2020
John Livingston Hewitt, Dance, 2020
Nicolas Hudson Noguera, Dance, 2020
Andrew Lavelle, Music, 2020
Deanna Ciriellu, Music, 2020
Valerie Kim, Music, 2020
Johanna E. Bufler, Music, 2020
Jieming Tang, Music, 2020
Daniel V. Gurevich, Music, 2020
Jaylyn Elaine Simmons, Vocal Arts, 2020
Aleea Elaine Powell, Voice, 2020
Iona Batchelder, Music (cello) BM 2020

(Names updated manually, so please submit once only.)

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The Juilliard Black Student Union: A Vision Revived

My idea for starting the Juilliard Black Student Union arose out of the perceived need for a space for black students to consolidate and support one another in solidarity. I think it’s safe to say that at this point in our nation’s history, when across the country social activist groups like BlackLivesMatter are challenging the systemic racism in our society and breaking down racist norms, we are experiencing the second wave of the Civil Rights Movement. While the movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, there are thousands of instances of racism that people of color, especially black people, face on a continuous, daily basis—the effects of which are, more often than not, destructive in every way. From a police shooting of an unarmed black person published across mass media to micro-aggressions from colleagues, these instances affect us mentally, emotionally, psychologically, financially, and physically.

Black students at Juilliard are not exempt from racism. As a matter of fact, black students often feel ignored and “erased” due to the almost complete silence on these serious issues on the part of the larger Juilliard community. When people do talk about these issues, one, two, or three of the following usually occurs: 1) the issue at hand is discussed in a hurried and dismissive manner; 2) black students’ colleagues place a ton of unwarranted pressure on black students to know every detail about the issue and thus recall the trauma that may have been induced; 3) the black students’ colleagues make extremely ignorant and, quite frankly, racist comments on the issue. Therefore, I wanted there to be an exclusive space for black students in which their thoughts, emotions, and voices would always come first.

 I want the discussions we have in events to move into our classrooms, offices, studio classes, staff and faculty meetings, and performances.

I wanted to build a community for black Juilliard students, so that they could come together to uplift each other and engage in fellowship with one another, where they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so due to their extremely busy schedules.

My secondary purpose for creating the Juilliard Black Student Union was to raise awareness within the larger Juilliard community about social, political, and worldwide issues. Almost every student, faculty, and staff member will tell you that Juilliard is a bubble. Due to everyone’s ridiculous schedules, there is almost no time in our day to check up on what is happening in our neighborhoods, let alone in the rest of the world. It is my hope that by first addressing the issues that plague the black community, we will be able to open up a door for the school to have conversations about other issues pervading our society.

My greatest hope for the JBSU is that it will inspire sweeping change in how the school has conversations about racism and other issues in our society. I want the discussions we have in events to move into our classrooms, offices, studio classes, staff and faculty meetings, and performances. I want the JBSU to be a leading example of students who have fully embraced their roles as citizen-artists, and as the rest of the school watches us move forward, I hope they’ll follow our example.

My other hope for the JBSU is that it continues to grow. I hope more students, black and non-black, will join and listen to our conversations about racism and all of the issues that intersect with it, in an effort to understand it better. I hope that the network and community of black students that we build with the JBSU will be so strong that it will remain intact once its founding members have graduated, and that we’ll continue to support one another even when we’re alumni. When our careers have taken off and we’re traveling the globe, I hope that even then, our network will thrive. I hope, too, that the JBSU will do larger projects that involve community service beyond the Upper West Side—reaching places like Flint, Michigan, and potentially even communities in other parts of the world, on different continents. And finally, I hope the JBSU will persist. I hope there will be students willing to take the reigns and continue to shape the JBSU into an organization that is effective and full of purpose.

When I first came up with the idea to start the JBSU, I did not have any ideas in mind other than the fact that it would be a safe space for black students. I didn’t know that we would be coordinating most of MLK Week, I didn’t know that we’d have a huge outreach of alumni who supported us and wanted to be a part of what we were doing. The leadership team also includes Tatum Robertson, 4th-year Voice student, Toney Goins, 3rd-year Drama student, Daniel Davila, 3rd-year Drama student, and Jeffery Miller, 3rd-year jazz student. A month (and two public meetings, three student leadership meetings, several emails, and some staff meetings) later, and now we’re here. And I have to say, the JBSU has been off to a wonderful start.