Centre College Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Change
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We the undersigned faculty, staff, and administrators of Centre College affirm our solidarity and commitment to transforming the structures that create and preserve racism, White supremacy, and injustice. We make this statement because silence permits these structures to continue unquestioned, making silence a particularly insidious form of violence. But we also recognize that simply making statements of solidarity and outrage are not enough. We must act.
In just a few short weeks, we have learned the names of David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. These names are only the most recent in a long and tragic list of Black people who have been victims of the structural, systemic, and violent racism that continues to plague this country and has been present since before our country’s founding. We mourn with our students, colleagues, and communities in this time of national tragedy. We stand in solidarity with our current and former students and colleagues—especially students and colleagues of color—who are placing themselves on the front lines and protesting injustice while calling and working for change.
To say “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that all life is not valuable. Rather, it is an affirmation of that fact and an acknowledgment that throughout our history Black lives have been treated as though they are expendable and less deserving of justice than other people. We cannot forget that slavery has a long and terrible legacy, an ugly history that we at Centre College have to grapple with as well. Undoing and unlearning racism require tremendous work.
We recognize that Centre needs to make some profound changes in order to become the inclusive campus that we aspire to be. This requires dismantling oppressive structures and replacing them with an inclusivity that promotes the dignity of personhood.
We, therefore, commit to creating spaces where voices who need to be heard can speak without fear of repercussion.
We commit to listening to vulnerable students, faculty, and staff with humility and respect.
We commit to recognizing vulnerable students, faculty, and staff as most qualified to guide our path toward greater inclusivity.
We are committed to identifying and changing behaviors, policies, and procedures that perpetuate structural racism.
We commit to scrutinizing our own thoughts, words, and actions to do the necessary work to promote equity and inclusivity.
Yours in sorrow, indignation, and solidarity,
Drafted by Rick Axtell, Dina Badie, Kiyona Brewster, Eva Cadavid, Megs Gendreau, David Hall, Lee Jefferson, Adriana Martin, Matthew Pierce, Jamie Shenton, Shana Sippy, Kaeyln Wiles, & Lisa Williams
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