A Letter to the Editor

Dear Students and Friends of the LWGRC, WAGS, and CRES,

We are reaching out in heartbreak and solidarity, in support of our Black students, staff, faculty, and administrators as the nation reckons, again, with the racial violence entrenched in our systems of (in)justice, education, health care, and social support. We mourn for the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, so many others, and now David McAtee. As resources for Lasallian intersectional feminism and critical race studies on our campus, we stand with you and with the movement that demands justice and accountability, that demands Black Lives Matter. We are here to support you, to stand with you and amplify your voices, to help organize and build community, and to support resilience and healing in this time of trauma.

George Floyd’s murder is yet another in a relentless pattern of racialized murders. We are devastated, we are exhausted, and we are not surprised. We know that Black people across the country fear a walk to the store, going for a jog, bird watching. We know that an intersectional, inclusive community cannot be neutral. We must work together to speak out and name the patterns of silence and complicity that allow widespread, systemic racial violence and the dehumanization of people of color, even and especially in protest, to continue. We call on all members of our community to actively participate in resisting these injustices and building spaces of solidarity and healing, starting with the Student Government Association Town Hall planned for this week.

Confronting this violence in the midst of a global pandemic that has reshaped our lives and communities is particularly painful. The burdens of the pandemic have not been evenly distributed, as Black communities and communities of color have been disproportionately affected by contagion and mortality, even as the essential workers who have kept us all safe have been overwhelmingly women and people of color. Enforcement of social distancing policies have focused on communities of color: in New York City, only 7% of those arrested for violating these policies have been white. Police violence is both a justice and public health crisis for Black communities. As we invite our community to stand together in resistance to racialized violence in the midst of a global pandemic, we are reminded of Audre Lorde’s warning:

“Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.”

(Lorde, Sister Outsider)

We urge our community, especially our community of white allies and accomplices, to remember that any action that speeds the spread of Covid-19, including direct action and congregation in violation of social distancing, will disproportionately affect communities of color. We ask white members of our community to remember that you stand in solidarity with the Black community as their guests, and that your actions and attitudes in protest will reflect on the movement for Black Lives. If you choose to participate in direct action, please:

·      Wear masks and adhere to social distancing as possible

·      Adhere to principles of nonviolence

·      Recognize BLM’s model of protest as a form of healing

Please know that the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center, as well as Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite, and Student Government, and the faculty of the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies Minor, are here for you. We stand beside you. We hear you. We love you. We are doing all that we can to ensure that the message that Black Lives Matter is heard loud and clear.

Students, Faculty, and Staff of

The LaSallian Women and Gender Resource Center (Kelly 3C, lwgrc@manhattan.edu)

Women and Gender Studies Program (ntakla01@manhattan.edu)

Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies Minor (david.witzling@manhattan.edu)