The department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside joins the chorus of voices calling for justice for the numerous Black lives taken at the hands of law enforcement as represented by the recent killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
When those sworn to “Protect and Serve” us kill Black people, the echoes of protests from around the world resonate in a special way in Riverside. UCR sits but a few miles away from the corner of Central and Brockton Ave. where 19-year old Tyisha Miller was killed by Riverside police officers in 1998, an event that generated demonstrations, calls for change, a trial, and the usual acquittal of the officers who put 12 bullets into her unconscious body. It also led to the play Dreamscape, written by Rickerby Hinds which explored the antagonistic relationship between the police and the Black community, as well as its film adaptation My Name Is Myeisha; The Riverside Coalition for Police Accountability was also established. But the work continues.
Our campus is the most diverse of the 10 University of California sister campuses and has the greatest number of Black students. Unfortunately, in spite of this reality, or perhaps because of it, our Black students find themselves dealing with issues from racial profiling by our own officers to sidelining black voices in our syllabi, and so much more. From campus police to the classroom, from the street to stage screen, we can do better. We will do better. But the struggle continues.
We say unequivocally: Black Students Matter. Black Stories Matter. Black Lives Matter.
“Until justice rolls down like waters…”
Rickerby Hinds, Chair
Department of Theatre Film & Digital Production
University of California, Riverside