In HSS, we strive to examine, understand, and shape the human experience across time and place. Sadly, part of that story is a history and persistence of oppression and discrimination against people based on false claims about their biological inferiority. In the United States racism has generally taken the form of white oppression and discrimination against Indigenous People, People of Color, and especially against the Black community. In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois, an historian, sociologist, and Black civil rights activist, remarked that “the Nation has not yet found peace from its sins.” More than a century later, many of the very same national sins – those tied to the same anti-Black racism – still abound. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor are merely the most visible reminders of them. Racism has been deeply embedded in America from before its founding and still exists in nearly every community and institution in the country.
We stand alongside those calling for reforms, and express to our Black students, colleagues, and fellow community members that we hear their voices in this painful time. We commit to anti-racism and stand with others who commit to educational efforts to combat anti-Black racism and structural inequality in the United States and beyond.
We, in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences:
- affirm the right of people to speak out in support of their own human lives and the lives of others.
- utterly repudiate the notion that any class, group, or individual is above the law and not to be investigated, brought to justice, and punished when they break those laws.
- categorically reject racism, racist violence, and white supremacy.
On July 17, 2020, our world lost John Lewis, a lifelong champion of human rights, 57 years after he stood alongside the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington. Speaking on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives less than a month before his death, Lewis proclaimed:
For far too long, equal justice and protection under the law have been deferred dreams for Black people and communities of color across our country… a democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option. For peace cannot exist where justice is not served.
We agree. The present is a compelling moment to speak and act clearly and strongly against anti-Black racism in this country and elsewhere, and to highlight the voices of Black students, faculty, and staff at TCNJ. Let us work together for equal justice and protection, and for peace, especially for those long denied these basic human rights.
Dean Wong and Associate Dean Grimm