A Statement from the English Department Faculty
We acknowledge and condemn the series of recent incidences of racist violence against people of color, and black people especially. We are appalled by the long history of such episodes, which has horrifically yet again expressed itself this year in the killing of George Floyd on May 25, of Breonna Taylor on March 13, and of Ahmaud Arbery on February 23 at the hands of police or white vigilantism. We mourn how these lives, like those of countless others whose names may be less widely known or mentioned, have been cut short by anti-black violence. We also recognize the systemic extension of such violence and injustice through the devastating economic and public health disparities that remain prevalent nationally, both before and during the present pandemic.
As teachers and scholars, we have a responsibility to address the history and deeply entrenched traditions of racism, and to undertake a particular role in its eradication. We commit to creating together a vital agenda for better confronting these issues in the coming academic year—and in years to come—in terms of our pedagogy, curriculum, and programming, among other aspects of our work and our department. We recognize that structures of racism and inequity have deeply shaped our institutions and culture. We take seriously the imperative of this historical moment, and we dedicate ourselves to act on it thoughtfully and forcefully.
We stand in solidarity with those who protest and resist racial violence and injustice, however manifest on personal or structural levels. We also want to express our concern for communities of people thereby harmed, including those in our departmental community who bear the weight of that harm most heavily, specifically those of color and especially those who are black. We commit to sustaining this work for the long duration that it will surely take to honor this statement.