The members of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health at UMBC stand in solidarity with those who are grieving the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Freddie Gray, and the too-long list of African Americans who have been killed by the police. We grieve the countless lives that have been cut short and minimized by structural racism and white supremacy. The incidents surrounding these recent murders and the disproportionate impact of the current pandemic on people of color highlight the violence, racism, and inequality that are entrenched in this society.
We stand with those harmed: they are our sisters, our brothers, our mothers, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our sons, our daughters, our friends, our lovers, our teachers, our colleagues, our students, and people we have never met. To be silent as they are taken from us would support the violence and the systems of which it is part. We cannot and will not be silent.
We recommit ourselves to developing and sharing the intellectual and methodological tools needed to dismantle systems of inequality, to finding new ways to support each other, and to helping create the kind of change we want to see. We recommit ourselves to doing this in our classrooms through improved, compassionate, critical pedagogy (c.f. Freire 1970) and in our research as we engage with partners in disenfranchised communities here and around the world. We commit ourselves to working with students, colleagues, and community members to apply social science methods and results to address these pressing social problems.
We are also committed to supporting organizations that work for social justice in our personal lives. Together, we are making a donation to the Baltimore Action Legal Team (BALT), which “provides legal support to Baltimore communities as they exercise their civil liberties protesting against injustices rooted in structural racism and economic inequality” (https://www.baltimoreactionlegal.org/), one of the many organizations working to make a difference in our community. And, as individuals, we are supporting other organizations that work for social justice as well.
If you, too, are looking for ways to make a difference, seek out local organizations that have been involved in this struggle for a long time and see how you can help. Utilize opportunities to enrich and grow your educational and lived experience. Learn and listen and read about white privilege and white supremacy, alternatives to policing, and #citeblackwomen. Explore models for how to create social change and engage in productive conversations with people who are different from you. Seek out Black-owned businesses to patronize. Support each other, and take care of yourself. And please reach out to us if there is anything you want to talk about or any way we can support you.
We stand together in this fight against injustice.
Aubrey Jackson Soller
**To see what others in our UMBC community are saying about this, see UMBC Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, “For Black Mothers” (https://www.wypr.org/post/moffitt-black-mothers), as well as UMBC’s message supporting USM’s Statement on Injustice (https://my3.my.umbc.edu/groups/insights/posts/93513), which includes links to campus resources.