Africana Studies Stands in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter Protests 2020
As faculty members of the Africana Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges we stand in solidarity with all those protesting the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among too many others. These are not isolated criminal acts, but rather expressions of institutional and structural racism in United States society. We are heartbroken, but also angry. We must work for racial justice. As fellow human beings, we extend empathy through shared horror. As teachers, we invite you to learn and demand meaningful social change with us. #BlackStudiesMatter
We agree with Dr. Benjamin Reese who states the key issues at hand, but also reminds us to keep our focus on those in Category 1 below. Category 2 is important, but it is not enough. We call for racial justice through a true reckoning of the systems and structures of inequality in our society.
- Institutional and structural racism
- Failure of leadership in politics, policing, healthcare, business, and higher education to confront structural racism
- Need for significant and long-term structural changes in wealth distribution, health policies, policing, voting, higher education, etc.
- Personal and institutional admission that past efforts, although often well meaning, have been focused on "nuanced changes around the edges," while sustaining the current distribution of power and privilege
- Need to treat everyone fairly
- Greater respect for difference
- Greater inclusion
- Solidarity with those experiencing pain