What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the MLK Spirit Awards?

It is an incredible honor. To me it means that I am on the right track.

Samantha Williams

Master’s Student, Vocal Performance

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Being your best DEI self: Think of a time when you were at your best at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. What happened? Who was there? Why did you feel at your best?

This year I created and curated an anti-racist art blog series, TypeCaste, for the EXCEL Lab at SMTD. I felt at my best because as a classically trained artist of color I often feel like my perspective, my interests, my culture, is at odds with the classical music world and the institutions which teach it. This anti-racist art blog was a space for me to use the many facets of my identity as an artist of color to engage with topics that are relevant to my entire department from an atypical perspective. I’m proud of this accomplishment because I hope that sharing my voice will aid in increasing inclusivity in classical arts communities and highlight the importance of student artists critically engaging with their society,

Wishes for the future: How would you imagine your environment needing to be for you to feel that you don’t have to do DEI work anymore?

Reparations, an end to black and yellow face in opera, and more diversity in the arts leadership positions.