By Andrea Lee
On Oct. 5 the Center for Arts Leadership held a #MeToo conference for CCPA students to discuss equality, power dynamics and a conversation for change. The panel consisted of the Director of the Musical Conservatory Linda Berna, the Head of Music Theater Dance Jane Lanier, Title IX coordinator Alice Jones, Jazz Artist Faculty Cheryl Wilson, Music Faculty MingHuan Xu and was moderated by the Director of Center Arts Leadership Allegra Montanari.
Montanari discussed that the purpose of this new center and event, “The #MeToo Movement was originally founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke. The purpose of the movement was to help lower class women of color who were victims of sexual assault. This was an event hosted by the Center for Arts Leadership, a new Center within CCPA, that strives to be a home for creating discussions and activities surrounding topics of social justice, particularly as they relate to our lives as artists in the community”.
The conference came a year after #MeToo spread like wildfire with women all over the world sharing their stories of sexual violence and sparking a conversation that was desperately needed in society.
The panel focused heavily on what it will be like for students who want to work in the arts industry and how important it is for women in the industry to set their boundaries, make sure their voices are heard and be prepared for all situations. Another point made was that if something happens to you not to internalize it, but to instead share your story with the people close to you that will listen and be there for you.
On the main message on this event Berna said, “Instead of being silenced, ignored, or ridiculed, as they had in the past, they were validated by others who said, “that also happened to me,” Berna said. “We need our students to know that we are as cognizant as they are of the kind of world they are entering as arts professionals, and we have to create a space where these conditions are brought into the light of day to be examined and addressed”.
When asked why she accepted the invitation to sit on this panel Jones said she has seen this issue come up in many spheres including higher education and the entertainment industry.
“I want students to be able to know the implications of behavior within the protection of higher education and how it can seem as quite different beyond,” Jones said. “The main message I wanted to convey was to have some internal dialogue so you can plan for unexpected pressuring behavior within school or work.”
During the conference, they greatly discussed how the lines can often be blurred when working in the entertainment industry.
Alongside discussing making sure you have your lines set and voice heard they stressed the importance of voting in all elections, not just the presidential ones. When a student asked during the panel how we can put a stop to this systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace Lanier simply advised everyone to vote for people whose values and passions aligned with theirs into office.