Department Statements on Racial Violence
"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.
The Department of English stands in solidarity and mourning with the Asian and Asian-American community in the wake of the murders of six Asian women in Atlanta. These murders were racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic hate crimes that targeted a group of workers whose identities and labor at a specific intersection of race, class, and gender made them highly visible and vulnerable targets of masculinist and white supremacist rage. At the same time, we know that Asian and Asian-American members of our own community here at Syracuse University have also been subjected to hate, bias, and discrimination and that nationwide Asians and Asian Americans have been subjected to a rising wave of hate and violence in the last year. The people who commit these acts create an atmosphere that is hostile to all students, staff and faculty and especially harm those from vulnerable groups. Our Asian and Asian-American students, faculty, and staff are invaluable members of our community. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the English Department Chair, Professor Coran Klaver, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are in need of support. We stand in solidarity with our Asian and Asian American students and colleagues.