March 3, 2022

To the AMPD community,

I know that many of us have been watching with disbelief and horror of Putin’s assault against the country of Ukraine and its people. Members of our community may have direct connections to Ukraine and Russia, but just as well, all of us have a direct interest in peace. This is why we unilaterally condemn these acts of violence, particularly against civilian populations. 

It is clear that the violence in Ukraine is being perpetrated solely by the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and his government. Many Russian people have publicly opposed the war, often at risk to themselves and their families. Artists in Russia have resigned prominent posts, including Elena Kovalskaya who stepped down from the Meyerhold Centre theatre to protest Putin’s war. 

Around the world, many have praised the leadership of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Prior to becoming President, he was a prominent actor, producer, and comic. Those who initially mocked his transition from performance to the presidency have come to see how his clear communication, teamwork, leadership, and resolve have united the Ukrainian people and inspired confidence and determination around the world. 

This is what artists, creators, and designers do. We imagine, we envision, we design, and we act. We stand up against and speak out, we inspire courage, even in times of struggle and against the temptations of despair. 

AMPD is here to support anyone who may be affected by this and any other conflicts, both around the world and closer to home. Those who may need support can contact any of the available resources we have provided in the Student Success Toolkit. Or the Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to all York staff, faculty and their dependents. 

Wherever and however you study, work and research across the many disciplines of the arts, media, performance and design at York, I am grateful for your individual and collective efforts in creation. As various global forces move toward destruction, it is your acts of creativity and community that will sustain us all. Thank you for your continued efforts and support of each other through this challenging time. 

Yours in community,

Sarah Bay-Cheng