Statement of Solidarity
Emmett. Amadou. Trayvon. Michael. Tamir. John. Eric. Laquan. Sandra. Philando. Breonna. Ahmaud. George.
Thirteen names, thirteen people.
It is a list that is too long to bear. Each person on it was killed by a vigilante or a police officer. Each person was deprived of their life, in the prime of their life. The magnitude of the human experience that has been lost -- when measured in Sunday dinners and family picnics, graduation ceremonies and wedding vows -- is nearly impossible to fathom.
And yet the list is too short. The same grievous fate has befallen far too many Black people for far too long, and their names are lost to history.
These killings must stop; they must stop now; they must be stopped now.
The anti-Blackness that led to these killings -- and made them so easy to excuse and forget -- must be called out. The anti-Blackness that is rife in our culture and institutions can and must be extirpated.
As members of Northwestern’s Department of Sociology, we join hands with millions of Americans in the wake of George Floyd’s killing to emphatically assert that Black lives matter.
We insist on the fundamental dignity and humanity of each and every Black person.
We mourn the deaths of anyone murdered on account of their Blackness.
We condemn police brutality and innumerable other forms of racial inequality that are only the most obvious instantiations of anti-Blackness.
We call for local, state, and national action to make law enforcement officers accountable for their violations of the law and the Constitution.
And we pledge to rededicate ourselves to rooting out anti-Blackness in our own midst, whether it is found in the very foundations of our discipline or our own unexamined practices.
The Sociology faculty and graduate students at Northwestern reaffirm and reiterate our longstanding commitment to increasing the representation of Blacks, Latina/os, Asians/Asian Americans, and Native Americans in the discipline at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty levels. We also affirm the importance of all kinds of diversity, including by sexuality, gender and gender identity, race and ethnicity, nationality, immigration status, socioeconomic status, religion, geography, language, and disability, as well as by substantive and methodological scholarly approach. For us, there is no contradiction between inclusion and excellence. Being inclusive also involves more than just numbers. It is about fostering a climate that values all members of the community. We work towards this goal through honest and difficult dialogue and through collective vigilance against assaults to the psychic, emotional, social, and intellectual well-being of our members. Hence, we are compelled to speak out against any discussions that disparage the achievements of bright young sociologists, whether those discussions occur on blogs and social media sites, at academic conferences, or within our own department. Personal attacks and claims that individual candidates have not fully earned their jobs or admission are abhorrent and baseless. In particular, we speak out in collective outrage against any sexist, racist, and generally insensitive comments regarding our own current and former graduate students and candidates in faculty searches across the country. We extend a collective embrace to the current, former, and future members of the Northwestern sociology community who have been hurt by these attacks. And we call on all members of our discipline to join us in rebuking such discourse and elevating the dialogue to have a productive conversation about practicing inclusion, diversity, and justice in our discipline and beyond.
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