Published: Nov. 17, 2015

By CU Student Government Tri-Exec Joseph Soto

University of Colorado Student Government Tri-Execs John Lurquin, Boneth Ahaneku, and I have been very shocked by racist incidents on the University of Missouri campus and offer our steadfast support and continued prayers and well wishes to students there on behalf of the University of Colorado Boulder's 30,000+ students.

I personally have been profoundly saddened by the acts of racism we've seen. My grandmother, who was at the time only three years removed from being lawfully barred from voting because of her skin color, volunteered for Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign, where Senator Kennedy raised issues like police brutality and civil rights to a national platform 50 years ago. My grandparents went to school in segregated districts, only two generations removed from sharecroppers and sweatshop workers, and the slaves that came before them. I was taught about racism through the lens of history, but a life of experiences has taught me about racism in the very dangerous present. Time and time again, I've used words to express my feelings about race in America.

However, when you see videos of black students on college campuses and in Greek houses being heckled and discriminated against, hear testimony or even see footage of law enforcement officials targeting people of color in often fatal confrontations, read about or experience instances of discrimination in retail stores, in classrooms, and in every area of life against people of color, it quickly becomes apparent that words are not enough. After time, our "thoughts and prayers" become meaningless as more and more people of color buckle under the weight of the oppressions they face. Our words, at some point, must turn into tangible action in advancement of the cause of social justice.

While we continue to send forth words of hope and solidarity to those struggling against oppression in communities across the country, the three of us stand ready to act here, at the University of Colorado Boulder, to make tangible change for people of color. Please join us in this endeavor.

The Tri-Executives of the University of Colorado Student Government resolve themselves to take the following stances in support of people of color in Boulder, in Missouri, and in places all around our country:

  1. We commit to fight for a bill in the State Legislature to establish a citizen review board to review cases of police brutality in the state of Colorado under a centralized, accountable, and independent task force.
  2. We commit to fighting for tougher gun safety legislation at the state and national level in order to help bring communities out of a gun death epidemic that has disproportionately targeted low-income communities of color.
  3. We commit to fighting for automatic voter registration laws because we know legislatures continue to make it difficult for people of color to vote, and we want to make it as easy as we possibly can to exercise the right to vote.
  4. We commit to fighting for higher wages for low-wage employees because we know a higher minimum wage most directly impacts people of color.
  5. We commit to fighting for more transparent and effective critiques of the university's lack of diversity in faculty on campus.
  6. We commit to working with other student governments in support of localized and common efforts around combating racism and discrimination in our communities.
  7. We commit to working with technological start-ups in Boulder and Denver to connect them with young entrepreneurs of color on campus in a unique exchange of capital and creativity.
  8. We commit to working with the Athletics Department to establish a mentorship program with local high schools in order to recruit a more diverse student body in athletics.
  9. We commit to seeking more funding for cultural programming on campus, as well as the creation of physical spaces on campus for cultural and intersectional dialogue.

Even all of this effort is not enough, but this represents our best possible step forward. It is our complete intention to do all of this, and then more on behalf of the cause of social justice. To students of color and allies alike, we invite you to join us on social media and over email in creating a dialogue and then meaningful change around issues of race and discrimination.