Dean's Message of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
Liberal Studies has adopted the Black Lives Matter banner for our website as an act of solidarity, to affirm our condemnation of acts of violence against Black lives and to denounce institutions and practices of racism directed at Black and Brown communities deeply embedded in our history and daily lives. We echo the multitude of voices ringing out for justice long overdue in protests and on the streets across the country and the globe. We abhor the tragic loss of lives and the brutal murder of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, David McAtee, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Monika Diamond, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and countless others, and we seek meaningful change.
Our expressions of outrage are necessary, but not nearly enough. As an academic community, Liberal Studies has special responsibilities to help in uncovering and exposing global systems and patterns of racial hostility, discrimination, and violence and in revealing histories of state sanctioned violence against communities of color in the United States and abroad. We need to interrogate the socio-economic and political systems, practices, and privileges that have created cleavages in our societies and deadly inequalities and disparities that impact the lives of Black people, indigenous peoples and many other marginalized populations today. We need to elucidate the ways in which intersectional forms of marginalization and structural violence emerge as xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and disenfranchisement in systems of white supremacy, denial of human dignity, and death.
Moreover, as an academic community that is defined by interdisciplinary, global, and engaged perspectives, pedagogies, and practices, Liberal Studies must continually recommit itself to renewal of our curriculum, course content, and methods of inquiry in line with the interrogation of histories and systems of oppression, colonialism, and genocide outlined above.
We must enhance and supplement our academic tools with programming designed by our students, faculty and staff, inspired by the work of generations of Black scholars, activists, and advocates for justice and radical change. This calls for collaboration across LS in partnership with our Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committees, the NYU Office of Global Inclusion, our colleagues in the global network and with other colleges and schools across the university, in addition to community activists and organizations. Such programming has already begun along with resources, readings, and training to help us take on the responsibility of solidarity and join in the struggles against racism.
The NYU Common read for the Fall 2020 is the inspiring book by NYU Law Professor, Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy, which reveals serious flaws in the criminal justice system in the United States, insidious racism, and tragic inequities highlighted by the ongoing violence and indignity of death row. Discussion of this book will be prominent in our programming.
We must also facilitate avenues for our students to engage in activism and advocacy and support their efforts to take concrete steps toward systematic and sustained changes, recognizing that without such change, the despicable violence and racism we condemn today will not end, and the calls for justice that our voices of outrage so rightly demand will go unmet.
Please join us as we interrogate our histories and institutions; expand our understanding and knowledge of patterns and systems of racism, inequality and violence as well as centuries of Black analysis and resistance; engage together in solidarity; and act for change in support of our conviction that Black Lives Matter.