Statement on Addressing Racial Injustice
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change, I am changing the things I cannot accept” (Angela Davis)
On May 25th, 2020 the world watched as George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, slowly lost his life at hands of local law enforcement. For many in the Charlotte community, this tragedy was not only a reminder of a long history of unlawful police violence performed on the bodies of Black men and women but a stark reminder of the September 20th, 2016 police killing of Keith Lamont Scott. Although similar events were being reported during the time of Mr. Scott our recognition of him as one of our community members, caused his death to resonate with the city of Charlotte and our University (UNC Charlotte) in a unique and personal way. Following the loss of Mr. Scott, and now Mr. Floyd, students, faculty, staff and local community members of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have come together in solidarity to not only demand justice, but to confront, denounce and dismantle illegal law enforcement practices, which disproportionately affect Black and Brown people.
Still, although we, the members of UNC Charlotte’s College of Health and Human Services’ Diversity, Inclusion via Equity Committee (DIvE) have and continue to demonstrate our full support of these efforts, we also acknowledge that such tragedies are not single unreplicable events, but daily realities for too many Black and Brown people in this country. Additionally, we, as a racially diverse and resolved university committee recognize that the marginalization of Black and Brown Americans is not limited to disproportionately unjust treatment by law enforcement, but that they remain overexposed to numerous social and political systems of oppression, marginalization, disenfranchisement, violence, and abuse. The reality of such has been made more visible by the measurable inequitable impacts of COVID-19, the recent unjust killings and actions of law enforcement related to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, and the historical persistence of racially inequitable outcomes within education, housing, criminal justice, economic advancement, health care, and quality of life measures.
Therefore, we, the DIvE Committee acknowledge that in order for us to live out our commitment — to improve the health of our communities — we must do more than name the enduring nature and pervasiveness of these ubiquitous forms of racial inequality, we must respond to their shared dependence on and rootedness in a historically persistent set of socially, politically, and economically racist systems.
To this end, we must consolidate our collective power, resources, experiences, forms of privilege, and power to confront this reality with concrete, and collaborative commitments, plans, actions, and measures of accountability. However, we cannot do this alone. We the faculty, staff, students, and surrounding community members must come together and accept that change cannot be fully dependent on those in positions of institutional power, but that we, as a diverse and evolving community are the power and the means by which change will occur. Therefore, we must also use our shared resources to hold ourselves, our colleges, friends, employers, and appointed parties accountable; and collectively support those in need, protect those who are vulnerable, and support the healing of those who are hurting.
Issued by: The UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services Diversity, Inclusion via Equity Committee
Statement on the Derek Chauvin Verdict
The DIvE Committee and Dean Catrine Tudor-Locke of the College of Health and Human Services send their condolences to the family of George Floyd. The conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is a small step in the right direction. It is also a reminder of the long journey to end racial injustice and police brutality. It is important for us to remember that George Floyd mattered, that Black Lives Matter, and that our national and judicial responses to the unjust use of police violence matters. We believe that we as a country are beginning to acknowledge these facts, in that people from all ethnic groups, backgrounds and walks of life united in their efforts to demand justice. Therefore, it is important that we express our support of the outcome in the Derek Chauvin case, and are pleased that a degree of accountability has been demonstrated. We understand that regardless of the verdict, a life was lost and so justice can never be fully served.
There is work yet to be done. We know that confronting structural racism cannot be a tertiary addition to our work. It must be an intentional, strategic, and comprehensive effort in our daily tasks and actions as academics. Thus, we, in the College of Health & Human Services reaffirm our commitment as a community to recognize, name, and dismantle racism in all its forms.
A university community where all can work, learn, and fully participate as their true selves in an environment free from harassment, uncivil actions, and disrespect.
The College of Health and Human Services is committed to fostering a workplace that values respect, diversity, access, and inclusion, and that can serve as a model for the University.
As members of the College of Health and Human Services community:
- We believe that a diverse faculty, staff, and student body are critical to advancing teaching, scholarship, and community engagement at UNC Charlotte.
- We are committed to educating our faculty, staff, and students to interact effectively and respectfully in the global community.
- We recognize and encourage the voices that are seldom heard and will engage in courageous conversations to build a genuinely inclusive community.
- We prepare our faculty, staff, and students to end prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.
As members of the College of Health and Human Services we:
- Promote a broad understanding of diversity, access, inclusion, and anti-oppressive practices.
- Provide a climate that is welcoming and conducive to the success of all students, faculty, and staff through active outreach to the college community and the broader community.
- Increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented faculty, students and staff and work to advance their progression and success.
- Structure the curricula to include multiple perspectives and employ teaching strategies that prepare students for success in a diverse and global workplace.
- Ensure that these goals are met through regular assessment, accountability, and recognition of college systems, structures, practices, and policies that promote equity and inclusion for all members of the College community.
- Develop effective external relationships with local, state, and regional entities, with particular emphasis on minority and underrepresented communities, to enhance inclusive environments and diversity both on and off campus.