Statement of Solidarity
This is a time of sorrow, of anger, of introspection, of discomfort, of activism. As we confront anti-black racism in the wake of the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, Women and Gender Studies reaffirms our collective mission to understand and address social inequities. We mourn and march and commit to the work of social justice collectively. We are not all experiencing this the same way. For some of us racism is a daily and familiar experience while others of us must interrogate our own racism and complicity in oppression. Women and Gender Studies has been articulating these concerns through academics, advocacy, and support, and we have more work to do. Black women have fundamentally shaped gender activism and critique from the very beginning of modern feminism. Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde, Bernice Johnson Reagon, bell hooks, Barbara Smith, Ntozake Shange, Anita Hill, Patricia Hill-Collins, Cheryl Dunye, Dorothy Roberts, Janet Mock, Sybrina Fulton, and many others have challenged those practices that, to quote Kimberlé Crenshaw, “relegate the identity of women of color to a location that resists telling.” Critical tools like intersectionality were developed to name blindness and oppression within the most visible articulations of feminism and women’s studies and they remain powerful because that critique is still necessary. Through introspection and advocacy we will work for institutional change here and in the world. The university is one place where we can make this change as we hire faculty, develop curricula, and reform academic and institutional policies. We who are faculty and staff prepare our students to make changes in those institutions that they will shape outside the university, and we must listen when they in turn hold us accountable and make us better.
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