In Pursuit of Racial Justice

InPursuitOfRacialJustice 3jun20

 

By Briana-Allyn Amissah
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Anna Maria College

 

At this point, you have most likely viewed the videos of George Floyd being restrained, beaten and murdered by an officer of the Minneapolis Police Department, while other officers stood by on watch. I’m sure you’ve heard about Breonna Taylor being murdered in her home by police. You’ve probably seen the video of Ahmaud Arbery being chased down on a neighbor jog and shot dead by Gregory and Travis McMichael. These killings are not rare occurrences, rather they are reminders of the reality of how the systems created to establish a country where all people are to be treated equally, has failed to treat and protect all humans equally. Instead, the Black body continues to be undervalued and made out to be subhuman.

As faculty and staff, we are the gatekeepers to the next generation of leaders. Our teaching, service and conversations, impact and frame for many of our students, how they in turn perceive and engage the world and particularly minorities. The responsibility that we hold is great; how we respond/or not respond to acts of racism matter.

As a Catholic college, we emphasize love for our fellow humans. True love is uncomfortable. It is not selfish, it calls for us to constantly hold in our hearts and thoughts other people’s well-being; that we may love like God, the Creator and Lover of ALL people. Anna Maria College was founded with a hope to raise morally bound professionals and leaders, committed to transforming their world. Our college holds values of Faith and Reason, Justice and Peace, and the Cultivation of Personal Moral Responsibility. As members of this community, we are called to first practice and impart these values to our students.

Many of us have had the privilege to live through the Civil Rights Movement. Riots and protests for equity and social change are not new to us, and neither is the KKK, racism and lynching of black people. A large part of the reason why racism is still prevalent in America is because too many people with the ability to hold their communities accountable did not educate themselves about the truth of this country and/or speak up when it mattered most. Our society is still reeling from the actions of the wicked among us because too many good people have stayed silent for too long.

Just as I’ve asked our student community, I am asking you to help realize the democracy of this country. One that ensures every citizen’s voice is heard, and every soul feels welcome and shares equitable access to the benefits and responsibilities of our society.  The idea of democracy does not sustain itself.  So as a leader on campus and in your field, allow this moment to awaken the leader in you. So that if you are not already doing so, you will start to engage the politics of your community, you will do your part to speak up against racism, vote and hold political leaders accountable.  

Ultimately, I have hope for this country and the next generation because of institutions like Anna Maria College and people like us. I hope we will do everything in our power to right the wrongs of history and hand over to the next generation a better society than the one we were born in.

Kindly refer to the resources below, for a starter on how you can contribute to promoting diversity and equity on campus. Many more resources are available to you, please ask and I will share them with you: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion is starting an Inclusion Task Force compromised of faculty and staff. ODI would also like to reconvene the Faculty Diversity & Inclusion Committee.


Articles and Resources:

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh: https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

White Fragility & the Rules of Engagement: https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/diangelo-white_fragility_and_the_rules_of_engagement.pdf

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh: https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

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