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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

A collective statement from English Department faculty, graduate students, and staff

"My response to racism is anger. I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also.” Audre Lorde, “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism"

The English Department at Syracuse University stands in unequivocal solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and its resistance to the police state and to racialized violence against Black communities. We add our voices to national and international calls for justice in investigating the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other victims in the long history of police brutality, structural racism, and systemic violence in this country.

In this crucial time of anti-racist protests and mobilizations, and in recognition of their connection to strong anti-racist student movements on our own campus, we reaffirm our full support of #NotAgainSU, a Black student-led movement that calls for holding the university’s leadership accountable for its handling of racist hate crimes on campus and its treatment of protesting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students. We support activist and student calls for demilitarizing the police force in our communities, and disarming DPS on campus.

In refusing the perpetuation of all structures and methods that harm and devalue the lives of Black people and People of Color, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ communities, we commit ourselves to examining our own departmental and programmatic structures, acknowledging our complicities and shortcomings, as well as strengths. To that end, we pledge to bring awareness and justice to our classrooms and to all of our wider communities by foregrounding racialized voices, experiences, and histories in our curricula, our pedagogies, and our practices of recruiting and retaining faculty and students of color. Through these forms of self- examination and action, we affirm our rejection of the normalization of racial violence and structural racism and lend our voices and labor to the struggle for social and racial justice.

To help us collectively engage with this current moment that calls for resistance, protest, and solidarity with Black communities, Syracuse University Library has created a resource page that features relevant readings, announcements, films, and other materials.