As a department actively devoted to addressing issues of racism, discrimination, intolerance and insensitivity, the University of Illinois Department of Psychology stands in solidarity with our Black community members as we acknowledge and mourn the unspeakable and untimely killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other victims of police brutality and racist intolerance and violence. We acknowledge and condemn the current and historical disproportionate use of excessive force by police against Black communities nationwide.
The current pandemic has magnified our nation’s long history of structural, institutional, and systemic racism, and current protests are a response to systemic injustices that target and disproportionately impact the Black community, such as mass incarceration, state sanctioned violence, inadequate access to quality health care and educational resources, and inequitable access to stable sources of food, safe and affordable housing, and gainful employment. We recognize that statements are not enough and that it is imperative for us, individually and collectively, to work proactively to influence and enact change. Therefore, we provide some suggestions for direct action steps to stand in solidarity with our Black community members, colleagues, friends, and neighbors:
Demand Accountability and Change:
- Call Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to immediately end violence against protesters, release all arrested during protests, and hold the officers responsible for the tragic loss of George Floyd accountable.
- Justice For Breonna (List of resources and action steps provided by community organizers in Louisville, KY)
- Write to the Urbana City Council (CityCouncil@UrbanaIllinois.us) regarding the Citizen Police Review Board and Police Brutality in Urbana.
Support/Donate to Local Organizations Working for Transformative Justice:
- Minneapolis Freedom Fund (MFF supports efforts to help free protestors who cannot make bail)
- Black Visions Minneapolis (Local MN Chapter of a national organization working to dismantle systems of oppression and violence)
- North Star Health Collective (Healthcare initiative that also provides trainings, resources, and street medical support to community organizing efforts)
- Campaign Zero (Online platform and organization that uses research-based solutions to end police brutality in America)
Educate Ourselves by Engaging with Anti-Racism Literature, Media, and other Resources
- Anti-Racism Resources: http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
- How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- George Floyd Resource Compilation
- A history of racial violence in America
- Interview with Dr. Cheryl Grills on the history of racism in American Society --
(Description of video content: Dr. Grills explains the history of racism in American Society in an accessible way for those who may not understand what led to the current moment. Suggested audience: For viewers interested in learning more about the examples of systematic injustice that impact Black communities)
In closing, we as a department commit to the following in order to listen, accept, and engage in collaboration for change:
- We stand in solidarity with our Black community members, colleagues, friends, and neighbors, and pledge to do all in our power to call out, address, and dismantle the systemic inequities in our society that we may knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate as scholars, practitioners, and friends.
- We acknowledge that we must confront our own implicit biases, no matter how difficult, and learn to think and act in ways that affirm and support our students, staff, faculty and community members identifying as Black and African American.
- We affirm that we will take what we learn and speak up in our shared governance settings, in our classrooms and lecture halls, in our meeting spaces, in our professional settings, in our interactions with institutions and organizations, and in our roles in local, national and international associations.
- We commit to a leadership role in changing the culture in all our spheres of influence.
Together, we will find our voices and speak with conviction, truth, and courage.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
– Dr. Angela Davis
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
More information about the Psychology Department’s commitment can be found here: https://psychology.illinois.edu/diversity/commitment-diversity
More information about the University’s commitment can be found here: http://inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu/mission.html