Jane Sapp Speaks to 2021 Graduates

Descriptive Transcript

Slide reads:

“Jane Sapp’s address to CAST Graduates”.

Transitions to Jane Sapp on a zoom video screen.

Sapp speaks:

I'd like to say congratulations to the graduates in Creativity, Arts and Social Transformation. When I hear that, I think about the social transformation piece of that, which seems to me at this moment, that that is probably the most important piece of work that we can be doing. 

I was around in the 60s for the Civil Rights Movement. We thought that was a transformation of a certain kind. When I think about it now, I realize that that really was more of a legal transformation. There were laws that stopped Jim Crow segregation, and other things. But that was not a social transformation. 

I think, in this moment, what we need is the social transformation that allows people to connect with each other, and connect with their humanity, need it more than ever. In this next journey towards social and racial justice, I think it's going to require as much courage as it did in the 60s. There were sacrifices made in the 60s, and courage. It took courage for people to stand up against those laws. Some people lost their lives over it. But I think that we're at a moment when we are in a civil war in this country, a political and cultural civil war. It's going to take courage and sacrifices for those who believe that living as a democratic country, and society, and communities, that that is the way that we choose to live, that we think is most humane, that we think has the most respect for all of humanity. But I am encouraged because when there were the protests against the George Floyd murder, I saw all kinds of people; black, and white, and Latino, and gay, and old, and young. Whereas before in the Civil Rights Movement the people who were marching were primarily black people. But this time there are more of us out there, and that's what it's going to take. 

I used to tell my students that if sometimes you're playing on a piano, and you have to do a performance and you find that there's a key that is sticking, and you can't make it play and it just persists on sticking there. Then what you have to do is play around it. You flood it with all of the other notes so that you don't hear that it's sticking. That to a certain extent were in that kind of moment, and it might take that kind of movement. It's that we have to flood this injustice with so much justice. We have to flood this disrespect, or this xenophobia. We've got to flood that with people who welcome other people to our country. We've got to flood this bigotry, this hatred of other people. We've got to flood that with so much love for each other that sooner or later that goes away. We have to stand up with courage, and we have to just flood the country with our sense of democracy, with our sense of humanity. 

I think in that, we'll see the social transformation. 

Fade to black. 

“We’ve Come Too Far to Turn Around” begins to play.

Series of images show up on screen:

Faded grey tone image of a group of people in the background with text that reads: 

"To be sung as a round" and lyrics:

"We have come too far, 

We can’t turn around. 

We’ll flood the streets with justice. 

We are freedom bound.” 

A group of people singing the song: 

“We have come too far, 

We can’t turn around. 

We’ll flood the streets with justice. 

We are freedom bound.” 

A scan from a book with the page title “We Have Come Too Far”, a piece of text on one page and the song lyrics, a music script and a framed image of a protest in front of Edmund Pettus Bridge. The pages have a grey tone background with the same image of the protest. 

The group divides into two, one of them begins with the first two verses:

“We have come too far, 

We can’t turn around.”

And the second group sings that part again while the first group continues:

“We’ll flood the streets with justice. 

We are freedom bound.”

The next slide shows a full screen image of the protest in front of Edmund Pettus Bridge with a person holding a pink sign that reads: “No Blood 4 Oil”. 

The singing continues in a round for the remaining images. 

The next image shows a group of people laying down on the Edmund Pettus Bridge holding hands to block traffic, while another person stands to direct the incoming cars away from the people laying. 

The next image shows the bridge with a person wearing a victorian top hat on a horse and carriage crossing with a coffin covered in the U.S. flag in the back seat. Another person is blurred in the foreground facing the camera. 

Image of people protesting with black and white placards. Three of the more visible ones read:

“Down with a corrupt justice system”,

“All lives Matter is a protest to our protest”, and 

“If you want peace, work for justice”. 

Protest image with people wearing white shirts and holding multiple countries’ flags and some placards. 

Protest image with people holding many signs and pride flags. 

Round singing ends.

Transitions back to Jane Sapp. 

Sapp speaks:

I wish you all well. You're walking into a challenge, as you know, this is a challenging world right now. But as always, I have faith in young people. I just have faith that young people will stand up and will face the challenge that is ahead of us. 

Thank you for having me. I wish you all well. 

Fade to black.