Button Menu

Statement from the Africana Studies faculty 

Statement from the Africana Studies faculty 

June 1, 2020

Dear Colleagues & Students,  

We, the faculty of the Africana Studies program at DePauw University, write to express our unwavering support to the families of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, Mr. Dreasjon Reed, Mr. Tony McDade, and black people all across the globe who struggle to enjoy the right to life. We are sure you have heard about their deaths, and we are sure you have seen news reports about the recent protests that are taking place across American cities and the globe.   

As a program whose very purpose “challenges students to explore issues of race, difference, identity, and subject formation and to understand the collective experience of black people in today’s world," we believe that it is essential that we go on record to express our condemnation of systemic racism and police violence against black people in the United States. We also want our black students to know that we stand with them, and we feel their pain. America has yet to deal with its original sin, slavery, and as a result, we are witnessing what mourning in a democracy looks like. 

For too long, the cries of African American mothers, sons, daughters, and friends have gone unheard by the government. For too long African Americans have hoped that maybe one day, our political institutions will provide justice. The system has failed, and justice has been denied. Many people are asking what we can do to help. If you want to be an ally to black people, the best thing you can do is speak up and speak out. Identify your privilege and start each day by asking yourself, “what am I doing to dismantle systemic racism?” Encourage your advisees to take courses that challenge them to think about race and how it has created systemic inequality.  Consider reading the following books:  "White Nationalism, Black Interests" by Ronald Walters,  "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin DiAngelo, or "How to be An Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi. 

As we think about this moment and the political climate in the U.S., it is incumbent on each of us to do better, to be better, and to have hard conversations that often make us uncomfortable. We encourage each of you to be engaged in the political process beyond simply voting. 

Respectfully yours, 

Rebecca Alexander, Associate Professor of Education Studies

Deborah R. Geis, Professor of English

Leigh-Anne Goins, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Leonard Foy, Professor of Music

Matthew Oware, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology

Clarissa Peterson, Professor of Political Science

Emmitt Y. Riley III, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Karin D. Wimbley, Assistant Professor of English

Back