Shakespeare Association of America

SAA Statement on Racial Justice

Dear SAA members,

The Shakespeare Association of America stands with those fighting racial injustice in America. We are grieved and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, the most recent in a long history of racialized violence and inequality in our country. We join with other scholarly organizations in our continued resolve to work towards change. We all have a role to play in combating racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, and in building a more just and inclusive society.

As educators, we are poised to play a leading role in working actively to eradicate racism and prejudice in all spaces of teaching and learning. As scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we know well the violent histories of race and racism, of slavery, settler colonialism, and prejudice on the basis of color, nation, custom, and religion. As literary critics and Shakespeareans, we know the potential of language and performance to challenge and dismantle racist ideologies. With such knowledge comes responsibility. When we do not actively teach and practice anti-racism in our curriculum and policies, we are complicit in perpetuating racism. Furthermore, we must be sensitive to the specific concerns of different communities and recognize that African-Americans are often targets of an anti-black racism that we must address and counter.

We stand united in our anti-racist aspirations as we work to create and sustain spaces within the SAA, as within our classrooms and communities, to speak and act against racial injustice and inequity, while offering support and solidarity to members, students and colleagues who are affected by racism every day. We find ourselves at a crossroads in history that will test who we are and what we stand for. Together, we must commit to anti-racism and each contribute in our own ways and in our own work toward racial justice and equality.

Natasha Korda, President, and the Board of Trustees of the Shakespeare Association of America