As a result of state sanctioned murders of Black people during the spring 2020, many institutions have issued statements to support Black Lives Matter Protests.
Below is a selection of statements, if you have additional statements please comment below.
Dr. Joe Feagin’s article on Racism Review
Media Rise-Quarantined Across Borders
I’m Tired of Talking About Race by Jasmine Roberts via TEDxOhioStateUniversity (video)
The Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities stands outraged and horrified at the killing of Mr. George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed African American man who was brutally strangled to death by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday, May 25, 2020. We send our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s surviving family and stand with them with all our hearts during this tragedy.
We understand George Floyd’s death to be a larger symptom of systemic anti-black racism that has roots in slavery, white supremacy, policing, militarism, the carceral state, and capitalism. George Floyd, like other recent victims of anti-black violence including Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and David McAtee, was a beautiful person with a full life ahead of him. Floyd’s death is part of a continuing disregard and devaluing of black life by the Minneapolis police and his death comes in the wake of two horrendous police killings of black men in the Twin Cities in less than five years — those of Philando Castile in 2016 and Jamar Clark in 2015. The murderers of Castile and Clark were never convicted. It came as no surprise that Mohamed Noor, a black police officer, became the first Minnesota police officer to be convicted and sentenced to jail for 12.5 years for accidentally killing a white woman, Justine Ruszczyk, in 2017.
As protesters throughout the world have powerfully argued, these black deaths cannot be reduced to individual acts of violence by the police. They are instead manifestations of deep and systemic structural racism and state violence that have defined American society since its inception. These include gaping inequities in wealth and income, job and educational opportunities, housing, health care, safe and clean air and water, and healthy foods. We understand that the overt hostility directed toward black people like George Floyd is reflected in the criminalization of blackness in media, popular culture, and the entire American criminal-legal system. The criminalization of black Americans fuels the prison industrial complex that has emotionally and economically devastated millions of African American, Latinx, indigenous, and immigrant people over the last few decades, while enriching private corporations and providing a pathway to a debt-saddled middle-class, such as the four men who killed George Floyd: Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane.
The death of George Floyd and other innocent black people, including black gender non-binary and non-conforming people is a direct result of white supremacist toxic masculinity that fuels violence in US homes and communities and which propels the brutal military-style tactics and attitudes that define contemporary policing in US cities. Toxic masculinity is a legacy of settler colonialism, slavery, and the civilizational logic that has historically justified violent land grabbing, exploitation of labor, and the subjugation of non-white people around the world.
We also recognize that the criminalization of black men in particular, and men of color in general, is a manifestation of the racialized heteronormativity and white nationalism that produces the “dangerous masculinity” of men of color within and outside of the territorial boundaries of the United States. Amy Cooper and other white people calling 911 on black men for jogging, barbequing, living, and breathing in public spaces are indeed current manifestations of the mass lynchings of black (and Mexican men) for threatening the “purity” of white womanhood in the United States. At the same time, the rampant killing of black women, including the disproportionate murders of black trans women, is the direct result of the history of objectification and dehumanization of black women that continues in different forms, from forced sterilizations, shackling of black pregnant women in prisons, and the high rate of Covid-19 deaths due to poverty and medical eugenics.
Students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies stand in solidarity with the millions of people protesting the killing of George Floyd and many other black, brown, and indigenous people around the world. We stand in solidarity with the millions of people who link his death to the proliferation of right-wing extremism, racial capitalism, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and imperialism, which are incapable of showing any humanity even during a global pandemic. We understand that while the U.S. military spending surpasses that of other states, and while the U.S. sanctions, military support of authoritarian regimes and settler-colonial states, and U.S. wars are killing innocent people around the world, lack of affordable healthcare, school to prison pipeline, militarized policing, and poverty is killing communities of color in the U.S. It is not a coincidence that the largest number of deaths from Covid-19 is among black and indigenous people in the U.S.
As transnational feminists who are against policing and militarism, we see the struggle of black people, indigenous peoples, immigrants, Muslims, and queer and trans people in the U.S. as directly connected to the struggles of people in other parts of the world, from Zimbabwe, Iraq, and Venezuela to Iran, Kashmir, and Palestine. We are deeply skeptical of the U.S. support of protests in selective locations around the world under the cloak of “liberation,” when youth of color in the U.S. are called “thugs” and are attacked with rubber bullets and tear gas from Ferguson to Standing Rock to Minneapolis. We also recognize that the U.S. military regime has close military ties to the oppressive security states such as Israel and India. It is not a coincidence that Chauvin’s murderous knee lock as well as the rubber bullets and tear gas canisters that are used in Minneapolis protests are military strategies and weapons used on Palestinian youth by the Israeli Defense Forces on a daily basis. Nor is it an accident that the same drones that are used against immigrants and refugees in the U.S.-Mexico borders are deployed in Minneapolis to identify and criminalize the protesters in Minneapolis.
We believe that damaging community centers, arts organizations, and small black, indigenous, brown, and immigrant-owned businesses hurt our communities. At the same time, we refuse to fall into the divide and conquer trap that fractionalizes us into “good protester” and “bad protesters.” Against the logic of capital and profit, we believe that human lives matter and are worth more than property. As Ruhel Islam, a Bangladeshi restaurant owner in Minneapolis, stated, “Let my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.” Sadly, the dehumanization of black lives has garnered more sympathy for damaged property than for black lives in the dominant media. Furthermore, we know that many indigenous, black and brown-owned businesses have been pressured by the police to surveil communities of color under the racist logic of the “war on drugs” and the “war on trafficking.”
Black protest leaders have repeatedly pointed out that the goal of the protests is to support black and brown people and not to destroy their neighborhoods. In fact, many protesters have protected our neighborhoods against agent provocateurs and opportunistic white nationalists from the suburbs and rural areas. We, like the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul, who have showed up with brooms, food, and donations are ready and committed to rebuilding our community centers, businesses, artist collectives, and non-profit organizations. At the same time, we believe that the language of “looting” to refer to the protesters erases the significance of mass uprisings, ignores solidarity gestures, and infantilizes our communities.
As feminist scholars of race, feminist black study, and postcolonialism/decoloniality, we stand in solidarity with communities of color and contend that land theft and wage theft from indigenous peoples and enslavement of black peoples–and not people’s legitimate protests–are exemplars of centuries of white looting. Considering that Minneapolis and St. Paul are built on unceded land, looting has a different meaning when understood within a broader history. As Tamika Mallory, the black feminist activist said at a protest in Minneapolis, referring to the U.S. settler-colonial and slavery foundations, “Looting is what you do. We learned it from you!”
While we applaud statements of support by universities and departments in response to George Floyd’s murder and appreciate the University of Minnesota President’s decision to scale back ties with the Minneapolis Police, we believe that anti-black racism manifests itself in different ways, such as the discriminatory treatment of black students, faculty, and staff by departments and the administration, and the disproportionate layoff of black staff during the financial crisis. We recognize that while this University has some of the oldest ethnic studies and gender studies departments in the nation, these educational sites have been systematically underfunded and undervalued. We know that intellectuals like us are also complicit with anti-black racism and we remain deeply committed to challenging racism in our own department and supporting the systematic demolition of the brutal carceral state here in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. Finally, the University must take greater responsibility for dismantling the structural barriers that reinforce and deepen racial disparities in education, employment, research, and health care within the Twin Cities that create the environment in which black lives are devalued.
We stand in solidarity with black-led protests in Twin Cities and nationally, and demand that all the four officers involved in the killing of Mr. George Floyd be prosecuted and sentenced for being perpetrators, abettors, and accomplices to his murder. We demand that Bob Kroll be fired. We demand that Mike Freeman step down. We demand that all the police officers who have killed innocent black people and have walked away be charged with murder. We demand that Minneapolis defund the police and reinvest in our communities. We demand the end of white supremacy, militarism, and state violence. We demand security, not through militarization and policing, but through free education, universal healthcare, mutual aid, fair wages, food security, environmental justice, and the abolition of prisons. Finally, we stand with the protesters to say loud and clear that Black Lives Matter and that peace without justice is impossible. We ask you to stand strongly with us against racism, while actively caring for one another, and while working closely together to imagine and create a more just and equitable world.
Rachmi Diyah Larasati
University of North Carolina, Charlotte/J. Murrey Atkins Library
Our hearts, minds, and souls extend our deepest sympathy over the agony that Black Americans are suffering. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery represent some of the most recent episodes in a pervasive tradition of racial injustice in our nation. Our country is suffering as the democratic values we hold dear are shredded before our eyes. The right to peaceful protest and speech has been trampled on. The right of all People of Color to be treated with dignity and respect and an assumption of innocence has yet again been destroyed. We must stand together against police and political brutality and the attempt to destroy our freedoms and rights to fair and equitable treatment for all. Atkins Library condemns all forms of racism and violence against People of Color and stands resolute in declaring that Black Lives Matter.
Atkins Library is committed to cultivating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome and differences are valued and respected. We embrace and support the spectrum of human and social identities and strive to create and maintain equity for all employees and users. Atkins Library pledges to subject its own conduct and collections to a deep, searching scrutiny and take significant steps to become the truly inclusive and diverse institution that it aspires to be.
The employees of Atkins Library invite you to join us in this challenging and important work.
The first step for all of us is education. Here are some recommended resources:
- Anti-Racist Resource Guide: https://tinyurl.com/antiracistresourceguide
- Anti-Racism Resources (this set is developed specifically for a white audience in mind): bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
- Anti-Racism Resources for All Ages: https://padlet.com/nicolethelibrarian/nbasekqoazt336co
University of Kansas
KU will pay tribute to victims of racist violence
At 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, the University of Kansas will hold a virtual vigil in remembrance of those who have been killed as a result of anti-black racism and violence.
Livestreamed from KU’s YouTube channel, the vigil will include a meditation from Darren Canady, playwright and KU associate professor of English, as well as an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence to honor George Floyd.
The tragic deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others have generated worldwide protests and essential reexaminations of systemic racism. This vigil will be not just a moment to honor their lives, but a call for the KU community to broadly affirm black lives and acknowledge and take action against such heinous injustice.
Douglas A. Girod
University of Maryland-College Park Libraries Statement from Library Dean
For many days after George Floyd’s murder and afterward, when the national and now worldwide protests began, I didn’t think I had the right words to express my shock and outrage over the continuing murders of Black men, women, and children by our militarized police systems, all within the context of White supremacy. In the midst of sadness and anger, however, I was somewhat fortified to read the recent campus messages, both from President Loh and his cabinet, and from President-Designate Darryll Pines, the latter of which was incredibly moving, and to read USM’s joint-Chancellor’s/Presidents’ statement. I truly hope that you were somewhat reassured as well by their words; I appreciated the way their messages emphasized solidarity, action, and hope.
Perhaps as you read their messages you also wondered, as I did, how can we join with our UMD colleagues more intentionally to combat racism and hate? What can we in the Libraries do to create more change? Our library work does and will provide much needed help and hope to thousands of individuals, especially students who are trying to make the world a more just place for people who are systematically denied the right to life and liberty. That counts for much. But are there additional efforts we could be making? Is there more we should be doing for our community? Hope is what helps us survive and allows us to fight another day. For example, I hope that the IMLS CARES grant proposal that the Libraries will submit on June 12th, will be one of these concrete actions, but what other ideas do colleagues have to share?
So, in hope, I’m writing to let you know that the co-chairs of the IDEA Committee, Cynthia Frank and Tahirah Akbar-Williams, and I will be facilitating an initial forum where we can share our thoughts as a library community. During the forum, we will try to gather ideas for co-creation of an open letter to our community that will express our collective reactions and commitment to stand against racism and hate and stand in solidarity with hope, and we can brainstorm about ways in which we can all take immediate actions to make a difference and recommit ourselves to achieving justice in our society.
We’ll announce the date and time for the first forum soon, with more actions to be announced later, but I wanted to reach out and let you know that this is in the works. Also, I hope that you are taking the time needed to care for yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time, and that everyone is availing themselves of the resources listed in President Loh’s message and the community events offered by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
These words of mine are still inadequate, but words do count, and so, if you are moved to do so, I also hope that you might add to these words by posting your own words below in solidarity. In the meantime, please reach out to me with any concerns or suggestions about ways we might create more change and support our community in this difficult time. Thank you.
Comments from the president-elect for UMD: https://today.umd.edu/articles/pines-stand-solidarity-unite-against-injustice-5eda0acb-f409-4c0e-b2e1-736d300f3a2e
Ernest J. Gaines Center, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
“Things change through action. By no other way.” – Dr. Ernest J. Gaines
In 1933 Dr. Ernest J. Gaines was born into a country that did not value him or his family. It was an environment where Black people and other people of color did not have a voice, did not have rights and were terrorized with impunity. There was no system of justice that represented or supported them. Today, in 2020 we are still witnessing Black communities, other communities of color, and LBGTQIA+ communities being brutalized with impunity by those who are sworn to protect them. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade are just a few of the most recent victims of police brutality and systemic racism. In 2020 we are still having conversations, demonstrations, and demanding a seat at the table to simply participate in developing policies that affect our communities the most. The Ernest J. Gaines Center stands in solidarity with every community and organization that continues to peacefully protest police brutality. We echo the feelings and statements of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and President Joseph E. Savoie. We are proud of the students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for using their voices, their platforms, and stepping up to become the agents of change the world needs. We see you, we applaud you and we encourage you to continue to use your talents in such positive and transformative ways.
Continue doing the work to make this world a more inclusive and just place. We stand with you.
Head and Archivist of the Ernest J. Gaines Center