Coming Together in Solidarity - Feb 1, 2023

The Department of Theater/Dance stands against bigotry and hate on our campus, and in our community. Read the statement from our Chair, Irwin Appel, below. 


Dear wonderful members of the Theater/Dance community,

Some of you may not be aware that posters and other images of severe anti-Semitism were distributed throughout Isla Vista today.  Anti-semitic slogans were also written on a chalkboard in a Jewish Studies class, and during this past Hanukkah, other such imagery was found in the Mesa neighborhood of Santa Barbara.  I have been in touch with Dean Daina Ramey Berry along with the Vice Chancellors for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on campus and they have assured us that the police and campus authorities are aggressively investigating and taking steps toward ensuring the safety of our campus community. 

It is utterly heartbreaking to reflect on the ongoing hate and violence directed at so many different groups and members of our community.  Bullying, racial animus, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, gun violence and a sense of overall injustice have brought many of us to the point of despair.  In these latest acts of antisemitism, I am struck by how the haters are making a concertedly pointed effort to pit specific groups against one another.  By dividing us further, they think they can become more powerful and in control.  I appeal to you all that we must not let that happen; we must not let them succeed by dividing us.

Our department’s very existence is an act of love.  We come together for inspiration, togetherness, and to see how far our imaginations and creativity can extend.  We celebrate acts of physical, emotional and spiritual creation.  We celebrate and reveal the vulnerability, fragility and power of the human spirit.  We rely on each other, on stage and off, and we welcome anyone who wishes to take part.  We are the antithesis of hate and violence; we create and build rather than wreck and destroy.  We take care of each other, and we look out for one another.  We don’t go it alone.

As I write this, it is late in the evening.  Many of you may be leaving rehearsal at this very moment feeling frightened just to walk to your homes.  I implore you all to look out for one another.  Please help each other if you can.  Be vigilant, and if you feel vulnerable, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  And please remember that simple acts of kindness and gratitude can change the lives of others.

Students, I encourage you to seek out your professors and graduate instructors if you need help or wish to talk.  Our faculty, TAs and associates are dedicated to you and your well-being and want to be there for you.  I also encourage you to seek out and get to know our amazing staff members if you don’t know them already.  They too are completely dedicated and love working with all of you.  And faculty and staff, I encourage you to seek our incredible students - I know they want to be there for you too.  Check in with each other and share a laugh or two.  It’s what we do in this department - we laugh a lot.  And again, please make an extra effort to look out for one another.

With love, gratitude and full support,
Irwin Appel