Department News

Department News

Statement from the Executive Committee of the Department of Ethnic Studies

June 5, 2020

We write in a moment of accumulated grief and righteous rage at the murderous violence by police and other state forces. The cruelty of this violence has been on horrific display in recent weeks in the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, the latest victims of a racist state that systematically and repeatedly diminishes the value of Black life. Even as we brace ourselves for increased forms of retaliation and repression in the days and months ahead, we condemn police violence and government retaliation against protesters.

We write to honor those that have taken to the streets to make public the collective anger, grief, and refusal of those that have preceded us and those yet to come. During these past days, we have seen how our communities have demonstrated courage, creativity, and care and we commend those that have done the work of amplifying these voices through mutual aid projects, redistributed resources, and the unseen emotional labor and care work that contributes to the vital fabric of our communities.

We write to affirm that Black Lives Matter. We write to recognize and honor our own Department’s origins in the Black Freedom Movement and in the struggles of Black students to transform educational institutions in the Bay Area, in California, and around the country. We write to support those that have taken on the urgent challenge of tackling anti-Black sentiments in their hearts, in their homes, and in their own communities, including non-Black communities of color.

We write with the knowledge that Ethnic Studies teaches us: that this nation was founded on colonialism, genocide, and slavery, and that white supremacy as a racial order is maintained through subjugation, segregation, surveillance, and incarceration. Ethnic Studies is committed to research, teaching, and public engagement that seeks to undo these oppressive forces, that imagines another world is possible. This is the world-making work we must do together, today, urgently.

Thank you for joining us in our collective effort to build the future we wish to inhabit.

Keith P. Feldman, Summer Chair and Juana María Rodríguez, Chair
And the Executive Committee of the Department of Ethnic Studies