Statement of Solidarity and Action

June 29, 2020

As another American citizen dies because he was Black, we, the people of Radford University’s College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, voice our protest. 

We protest the necessity for Black families to live as if guilty until proven innocent.  We protest that Black families must live in fear of police forces. We protest the shallow evasions of white authority that proclaim the system is sound and the atrocities are committed by a few bad actors. 

We protest for recognition of past wrongs and the pervasive, systemic racism of America and American society.  We protest for equal access to opportunity, education, employment, health care, stable housing, and stable food sources that most white Americans take for granted.  We protest for future protections and reparations necessary to counter the largely invisible specter of white privilege, powerlessness, discrimination, and oppression.    

We ask, finally, after long silence, that our Black students and their families, our Black colleagues among the staff and faculty, and Black people everywhere who are subjected to racism, individual and systemic, and stymied by a system of oppression allow us to voice our protest with you.  

Those of us with privileged identities cannot understand what it is be Black, but we protest because we recognize that our Black students and colleagues are hurting. We protest because we recognize that there are unsafe spaces on our campus and the safe spaces are too few.  We protest because words of support and solidarity are not enough.  We protest because speech without action allows those us of who benefit from white privilege to complacently return to our privileged spheres  

As a college, we commit to the following actions: 

We will use our positions of privilege to directly and concretely speak up and speak out at every opportunity. 

We will use our positions of privilege and power to provide a platform for students of color to speak up and speak out about their experiences of racism and discrimination. 

We will seek opportunities to collaborate with any organizations in the University and local community who wish to join us in this protest and this work. 

We will re-examine our courses, our course-based assignments, and our policies to ensure that our curricula and classrooms are safe and inclusive spaces. 

We will support courses and academic programs that address racial discrimination, systemic racism, and advocacy for people of color as well as those that strive to center the identities and experiences of people of color. 

We will work to create, enhance, and improve opportunities for students of color to engage in scholarship and research and for all faculty and students to engage in the study of racial injustice. 

We call upon ALL of our students, staff, and faculty to join us in all these actions. 

Dean Matthew J. Smith and Members of the CHBS Leadership Team