Updated: June 1, 2020 at 12:14 a.m.
The Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement and University partners will host events for the GW community in the wake of recent instances of police brutality.
The letter – signed by diversity and inclusion officials and posted to the office’s website Sunday – condemns racism, anti-Blackness and recent acts of police violence and brutality. Officials said they hope the diversity and inclusion office will contribute to a more “equitable and just future” and combat the racism and white supremacy that are part of the “foundation” of the United States, the letter states.
“While many people continue to ask for a return to the ‘normal,’ we know that for Black people and those from historically marginalized communities, that means a continuation of oppression, injustice, hate and violence,” the letter states. “We have to create something better. We have to raise higher.”
The letter invites members of the GW community to share their thoughts, needs and concerns in light of police violence against the black community via a Google form. Officials directed students to resources like Counseling and Psychological Services and the Office of Advocacy and Support.
“This reality is being felt by members of the Black community in massive loss of life and economic devastation,” the letter states. “We know that the Black community is laboring under this heavy, heavy burden directly and indirectly.”
Thousands of demonstrators marched through Ward 2 Saturday to protest the police killings of black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said in an email to the GW community Sunday that officials will continue to offer “support and resources” and pointed to the online community events that the diversity and inclusion office announced for students to participate in conversations related to the killings and protests.
“I look forward to working together — harnessing the power of the community that comprises this great institution — to address racism and injustice on our campus and in our society,” LeBlanc said in the email.
D.C.-area Black Student Unions – including GW’s – published a letter Friday urging Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham to implement measures aimed at addressing police brutality. The letter calls on officials to take actions like investing in de-escalation training and reducing the number of youth arrests by 90 percent.
“As a unified body of thousands of black students who actively engage and study within the District, our safety and the safety of D.C. residents is a top priority,” the letter states. “This cannot happen without the proper steps taken by both MPD and the D.C. government to prevent the homicides of unarmed black men and women by law enforcement.”
This article appeared in the June 5, 2020 issue of the Hatchet.