George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery.Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Freddie Gray.
These are just the most recent names. Human beings whose lives were destroyed by systemic racism and the pervasive white supremacy that permeates our culture. And while we, the Retriever Courage Faculty Staff Advisory Committee (FSAC) are deeply disturbed, shaken, outraged by the violence taken against Black people on an all-too-frequent basis, it’s not enough to create a simple message. We are in solidarity with those who feel the wrath of this country’s long-standing practices of white privilege, structural racism, and police brutality. UMBC faculty and staff share many qualities, but perhaps the most important of these is the desire to recognize and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion
Many of UMBC’s academic departments, student services offices, and campus leadership have already provided or are in the process of providing statements demonstrating their solidarity and underscoring the importance of working for the principles that guide our lives. Most UMBC employees share similar morals and values and have long shown their opposition to systemic racism and have made it their business to recognize that Black Lives Matter, that police brutality is real, that the over-incarceration of African-American men and its impoverishment of the Black family is real on many levels and that the denial of equality of opportunity is real. Those of us who benefit from white privilege must do the self-work to practice anti-racism and we must also reach out in support and solidarity to our Black community members.
This Committee’s charge is to provide a voice for, bring forward the concerns of, and share feedback from our constituents regarding sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. The work of Retriever Courage and this Advisory Committee is to ensure that UMBC centers survivors of sexual violence and works to end rape culture on our campus. We must also recognize the ways in which sexual violence is a social justice issue; one predicated on the intersections between systems of oppression like sexism, racism, and transphobia.
While one statement isn’t going to change the world, we implore white-identified and non-Black people of color to join us in the effort to educate ourselves on racism, white supremacy, and its effects. For white-identified community members looking to get started, we encourage you to read this blogpost from Amelia Meman in the Women’s Center on “Learning how to be anti-racist” and to review some scaffolded anti-racism resources collected here by other practitioners in the field of diversity and inclusion. For our Black-identified community members: we see you. We are working to support you. Your life matters.For more information including events, resources, and information, we encourage you to follow Campus Life’s Mosaic, Interfaith, and Pride Centers. See their post on Black Lives Matter here.