Solidarity with BLM Statement

June 2020

Dear students,

As protests around the country continue in the wake of not only George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, but also the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, and David McAtee we wish to express our anger, our sadness, and our solidarity with ongoing struggles against anti-Black racism. Geographer and Black Studies scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore defines racism as “the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death” (2007). As the twin crises of our moment, the CoVID19 pandemic and state-sanctioned violence against Black people in the United States lay bare, the adverse and deadly effects of racism exact suffering both universally and unevenly. Anti-Black racism harms all of us albeit in different ways, and thus it requires all of us to stand against it.

As faculty in Greensboro, the choice to us is clear. This community has deep roots in the long struggle for Civil Rights (including Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-ins and the Greensboro Massacre), and UNCG is a designated Minority-Serving Institution situated on occupied Indigenous lands of the Eno, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sappony, and Catawba peoples, as well as the border of a rapidly gentrifying historically Black community. In the International & Global Studies program, we recognize both the urgency and the limitations of our role in this work. As white and non-Black faculty of color, our position is to listen to, learn from, and uplift Black people’s voices; as experts in interdisciplinary approaches to the social and political problems, it is our work to engage in sharp analytical thinking and collaboration that contributes to a toolbox for dismantling the architecture of systemic racism in its myriad manifestations both within and beyond the borders of the United States. As a program, we value intercultural difference as a generative site, where we work toward mutual understanding rather than treat difference as an obstacle that needs to be overcome.

Our curricular and co-curricular activities centralize critical reflection and emphasize life long inquiry into ourselves and our communities as pathways for enacting systemic change. We have partnered with community organizations such as the Center for New North Carolinians as places where IGS students can engage actively with the Guilford County community and on campus programs such as the Spartans-in-Dialogue initiative led by the Office of Intercultural Engagement. Through these relationships, our students pair action in the community based on agendas set by community members and participate in critical reflection that moves those interactions from a co-curricular activity to long-term commitment to social change. Because of such commitments and practices, we also understand that our work of learning and growing as a program that more substantially contributes toward dismantling anti-Blackness remains paramount and is work we must continue to undertake as a community, on our campus and beyond.

We recognize that here is a range of needs among our students and that we are only capable of meeting those needs in a limited way. To that end, we write not only in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, but especially in support of our Black students. Gathered below we have started a list of resources for people who seek to learn more about what’s going on right now and connect that to social and historical contexts as well as resources for people who are over-exposed to state violence and need strategies for practicing community-care and self-care.

In solidarity,

Dr. Neelofer Qadir

Dr. Kathleen Macfie

Mr. Will Zang

Yvonne Matlosz

To Learn More

We encourage you to engage with these resources in conversation with friends, peers, colleagues, and family. It is through this thoughtful and careful exchange that we can begin to reshape individual and community habits and viewpoints toward racial (in)equities.

Donations in Support

Self-Care, Mental Health and Wellness