Newman Fellows Standing in Solidarity
On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd, a brother, a father, and a friend of many was killed by four police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. We are devastated by the murder of George Floyd, and we are standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice organizations across the nation in calling for policing reform and justice, not only for George Floyd, but for all Black people who are routinely murdered by the police. We know and see how Black communities have been suffering from violence, oppression, exclusion, and discrimination since colonial America. These effects are evident and factual, and we must confront not only the global pandemic, but the pandemic of racism. We condemn police brutality and mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless members of the black community who have died at the hands of police officers who have abused their power. This is abominable given that they have been entrusted with the duty to protect and uplift their communities, including the most vulnerable.
While the news of charges brought against the four officers in connection to this murder may bring some hope that justice will eventually be served, the events of the past weeks remind us yet again that the United States is far from a post-racial society. The attacks on peaceful protesters across the country by officers armed with rubber bullets, tear gas, and nightsticks are an affront to our first amendment protections and are antithetical to our necessary ideals of equality, justice, and peace. While white supremacist ideals continue to be promoted over Black lives, we cannot in good conscience remain silent.
We, the Newman Civic fellows of 2019 and 2020, stand in solidarity with the protesters and the family of George Floyd as well as against racism and bigotry alike. The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. We, as Newman Civic Fellows, are committed to social justice, and we cannot stay true to ourselves and to our values without first calling out the systemic racism that we see and experience in our communities, schools, and states. As fellows, we commit to advocating for equality, fostering difficult conversations, and establishing inclusive spaces on our campuses across the nation to bring liberation to historically oppressed voices.
As the tragic event of Mr. Floyd’s murder has demonstrated worldwide, we have a long way to go in addressing inequalities across our various systems of government. As the Newman Civic Fellows from across the United States, we are in support of the following initiatives, programs, and policies to be implemented in our schools, communities, and states in order to move toward long term change and create a system that protects Black communities and other communities facing police brutality:
- Universities supporting policies that focus on ensuring the safety of the BIPOC communities on campus. This can be implemented by divesting from police departments until reforms are made, or requiring racial sensitivity training for police departments.
- Holding campus-wide listening sessions for the community and especially for the students. This will be a space for students to share their concerns, learn, and take action toward an inclusive campus.
- Required diversity training and classes on dismantling racism for the campus community.
As fellows from across the nation, we will individually assess our campus environment and design policies that will be added to the aforementioned list for implementation.
This statement was written and endorsed collaboratively by the 2019 and 2020 cohorts of Newman Civic Fellows. Learn more about the outstanding group of students who make up these cohorts at compact.org/newman-civic-fellowship.