Promoting Racial Justice
Posted June 9, 2020
Dear SAR friends,
We write to echo the grief, anger and frustration felt during these past days in the United States catalyzed by the murder of Mr. George Floyd, and by the persistent racial injustice and brutality that led to his death and far too many others, before and since. We denounce state violence against peaceful protestors and violent rhetoric by US officials. We join with protestors in their calls for justice and racial equity. We are committed to standing with them in that fight.
Scholars at Risk is rooted in the shared pursuit of truth. Racial injustice is anathema to truth, because white supremacy, racial discrimination and violence are rooted in lies and falsehoods, including that black lives matter less. Scholars at Risk’s mission is to protect truth-seekers– including scholars, students and others–who confront such lies. We exist to defend their freedom to pursue and speak truth.
Our mission cannot be fully realized in a world without racial justice. And so we are grateful to the peaceful protesters for standing up, despite the risks, and demanding an end to systemic racial violence and injustice. We are grateful to all members of the SAR community–scholars, students, administrators and higher education leaders, as well as writers, journalists, artists, activists, supporters and friends, in the US and around the world–who are similarly speaking out and demanding that the voices and experiences of disenfranchised communities are heard and respected.
We recognize that if the pandemic had not dispersed us physically, protests might well be within many of our campuses today. The issues are no less within our spaces now. We are challenged by this moment, to look without and within, to confront the habits and structures that perpetuate racial injustice. We know that we can and must do more.
Toward this solemn goal, we ask your help. Over the coming weeks and months, SAR would like to engage more deeply in ongoing projects that will promote racial justice at SAR, on college campuses, and in society while also honoring the memory of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more, in the US and around the world. Please help us by completing the survey linked below to share your suggestions. How can we as a community support and amplify marginalized voices, champion racial justice, and confront state violence? What activities and services would you like from the network now? What topics would you like to discuss? Some suggestions already include:
- Confronting violence against organized student expression
- Campus safety vs. campus policing
- De-militarization of higher education communities
- How does systemic racial injustice shape/impede access and equity on campus?
- Racial injustice and violence in online/virtual spaces
Please share any suggestions, examples from your community, and questions you may have.
We also append below a list of resources–by no means exhaustive or complete–for students, scholars, administrators, and higher education leaders to use now to capture this moment and do more to advance racial justice. (We invite you to share any others you have found valuable or any other thoughts via firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Thank you for your continued support of SAR’s work and for completing the survey. Thank you for being part of our community of over 500 institutions and thousands of individuals who are committed to fighting for truth, for justice, for free inquiry and expression, and a future in which all voices are heard and protected. We have a long path to walk, but we are grateful to be walking it with you.
Links to resources on confronting racial injustice in higher education:*
- Linking Diversity with the Educational and Civic Missions of Higher Education
- Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education
- The Importance of Having Diverse Administrators on College Campuses
- Campus Law Enforcement
- School Ties: Columbia’s Divestment from Prisons
- Renewed Diversity Push
- Report on Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education
- Unconscious Bias and Higher Education
- Race-Conscious Policies in Higher Education
- SAR’s Promoting Higher Education Values: A Guide for Discussion
*Incomplete list; not SAR resources unless indicated.