Racism has reared its ugly head again in the United States. Police officers killed a number of Black people over the last few months, and these are the ones we know about. The nonsensical killing of Black men, women and children happens far too frequently and, within society, has become normalized to a certain extent. Every time I watch the video of the killing of George Floyd, I am retraumatized, so I contacted Denver television channels 4, 7 and 9 and asked them to stop showing the video. Would we be able to watch a video of a non-Black person being killed in the streets by a police officer without being totally traumatized? Would a video of a non-Black person be replayed over and over on local and national news?
CU Boulder’s Black faculty members, staff members and students and our families and communities are hurting. The compounded trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black communities and the unjustified killings of Black people have created racial fatigue and additional burden. It’s everywhere we turn; there’s no escaping it.
The University of Colorado Boulder and the College of Engineering and Applied Science will not stand for racism. I encourage you to read interim Dean Keith Molenaar’s June 2 message, read and listen to Chancellor Phil DiStefano’s May 29 and June 3 messages, and read Amy Moreno’s, the college’s director of inclusive culture, June 3 message, which offers antiracist resources. It’s time for a change. There is so much to do! Where do we go from here?
Be Aware: Recognize your own biased mindset and shift to refraining from negative thoughts and harmful behavior. This includes the temptation by some to falsely accuse a Black person of something just because of discomfort or the assumption sometimes made that Black students on campus are athletes.
Be Knowledgeable: Educate yourself and reject ignorant, racist information including posts on social media. We have the privilege to work and study at a university that is a knowledge center of every topic you can imagine. Engage with CU Boulder libraries anti-racism resources to access relevant and accurate information and upcoming workshops. Many materials are available online. Learn the real history of this country, including Black history, which has been erased from many of the history books.
Be Courageous: Speak up when your family members and friends say racist remarks and comments. Challenge practices and policies that discriminate against Black people.
Be Kind: Extend compassion without expecting reward. Treat Black people with dignity and honor. Consider Donna Hicks’ 10 essential elements of dignity as you engage with each other.
Be Active: Do something to support Black communities including Black businesses, students, schools, organizations that fight against racism, places of worship and other community places. If you see something, say something. Register to vote, turn in your ballot and encourage others to do the same.
Protests with chants of “Black Lives Matter” coming from people from many diverse backgrounds are encouraging. It gives me hope that we are not as divided as the ugly and evil face of racism wants us to believe. Thank you for being a part of the revolution and for standing up for what is right.
Peace and Love,
BOLD Center Director