The faculty of the Bellarmine University Program in Criminal Justice Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology, and the minor in African and African American Diaspora Studies, join millions of Americans in expressing our collective sorrow and outrage at the recent murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and David McAtee. We recognize their deaths not as singular occurrences, but as interconnected events produced by the historic and continued systemic racism and violence directed against Black Americans. We further recognize that silence and inaction make us all complicit in the reproduction of racial inequality, and therefore, wish to add our voices to those condemning police violence, white supremacy, and racial injustice everywhere.
We must speak out as faculty who teach, research, and engage with our communities on issues of racial inequality in social institutions, especially the criminal justice system. We appreciate the critical role we play in educating students who go on to become community leaders, social workers, teachers, and police officers—professionals whose lives are in the trenches, where inequality fouls the system and limits the potential of countless individuals. In this historic sociopolitical moment, we reaffirm our professional and personal commitments to understanding, exposing, and addressing injustices of any nature at the individual and institutional levels. We reaffirm our commitment to inclusive classrooms, and to the production of knowledge that unsettles historical “certainties” about class, gender, race and other intersecting systems of oppression.
We appreciate the leadership of Dr. Susan Donovan, whose statement on these events challenged us to do better. We also appreciate the leadership of Dr. Donald Mitchell, our new Chief Diversity Officer, as well as the leadership of Joe Frazier and Emily Dixon in the Office of Identity and Inclusion (OII). We are inspired by activism on our campus and in the broader community. Our students, faculty, and staff are among those out in the streets doing the work that can force change. Likewise, alongside OII, our students organized a campus-wide supply drive for local activists and protestors.
As a program, we strengthen our resolve to teach, do research, and act in ways that move us toward equity and justice in this city and beyond. Further, we call on the entire Bellarmine community to do the same: may we all recognize our responsibility to root out racism wherever it is embedded and to do the work of educating ourselves, reflecting, and moving forward with care, fervor, and purpose.