Our communities have been feeling the anxiety and frustration of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for months. Now the nation is reminded once again of the national shame that our communities of color live with– the inescapable injustice, inequality, and violence that so many experience every day. Our Black colleagues and students did not need this reminder. They live with this particular fear and anxiety every day. We must acknowledge their reality and participate in the structural change that must occur for real societal improvement to take place. Care and compassion are important, but it is more than that. Our active participation in change is required.
Overwhelmingly, we have the responsibility to educate our students about the long history of racial injustice in this country and the means used to force real structural change to improve the lives of those who face oppression.
If anyone asks about why we needed the Diversity and Equity requirement, the answer should be obvious.
If anyone asks why we need an Ethnic Studies requirement, the answer should be obvious.
The history of racial violence long predates the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a person who took the oath to protect and serve. It predates the killing of young Black men for wearing a hoodie or jogging in the street. It is a history that privileges white people and oppresses people of color in social, economic, and political settings.
CHABSS will continue to educate our students on this reality. So many CHABSS professors already do this, and CHABSS is the leader on campus in this approach, but as a College, we can always strive to do more.
For privileged members of our community, it is incumbent upon us to be allies, to speak up, to show up, to support the cause of justice, and to vote for political leaders who will take action on our values. For our colleagues and students of color, please know that CHABSS supports you. We are here to promote and fight for the values of justice and equality.
CHABSS Interim Dean