An Apology for OCSA Gala 2019
An Apology for OCSA Gala 2019
To whom it may concern,
As students from OCSA we have created this petition because we feel that calling this year’s Gala “-Latin themed” is not only cultural appropriation but not a proper representation of the culture at all. Many of us feel wronged by the way our culture is going to be shown. We ask that we receive a public apology, and that the description of the show and title are changed, as we understand the time constraint to change the entire show. The use of fake accents is not only degrading but feels as though the Latinx community is being mocked by people onstage. We would also like to state that Latin America does not include either Spain or Miami; they are places full of our culture and similar ones but they are not part of Latin America. In addition, the costumes are in insult to the beauty of the Latinx culture and not accurate to any region. Jennifer Lopez has only been shown wearing culturally nonspecific clothing in all of her works. We are only submitting this because we are saddened by the transgression of seeing Latinx culture being exploited like this and not properly represented (especially when there are plenty of resources on campus). Part of OCSA’s non-discrimination policy is the following:
“OCSA prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying of any student by any OCSA employee or student.”
We feel that this is an act of discrimination against the Latinx students of OCSA who are not currently performing with Gala. It is as if our own school, which, in their own Non-Discrimination Policy, claims that:
“OCSA programs, activities, practices, and employment shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or a group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics,”
is now using our culture for monetary gain.
An update as of February 11th:
On Friday, the day after we posted the petition, one student was called into the office by the Dean of Faculties and Supervision and asked to set up a meeting for later that day. When the five of us arrived, the Dean made the student that had been called in earlier chose one other student to go in with them, in front of the rest of us due to the "lack of seats". The two students who were allowed in sat with double the amount of administrators and were told that they misunderstood and that they were wrong for 60 minutes, which cut into our academic day. They used intimidation and guilt tactics. Later on Friday afternoon, OCSA sent out an email to all parents and students saying that "...all parties agreed that the majority of the concerns resulted from miscommunication regarding the intent and content of the event." No parties agreed to this, it was a distortion of the situation and our words. The email was misconstrued as an apology. Since then, many people have expressed their support or disapproval of us and our petition.
We want to make it clear that the intention of this petition was never to insult or call out any students participating in the OCSA Gala, such as Montage! or any of the crew working in the show. We don't want to see Gala fail or loose funding, we want the issues and insensitivity of the theme to be addressed, acknowledged and apologized for.