The Office of Equity and Inclusivity at Dickinson College, and its constituent units (Asbell Center for Jewish Life, Center for Spirituality and Social Justice, Office of LGBTQ Services, Popel Shaw Center for Race and Ethnicity, Women’s and Gender Resource Center), stand in solidarity with black people in this country and against the consistent state violence directed against them, seen most recently in the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Esther Popel Shaw, Class of 1919, the first African-American woman to graduate from Dickinson College and a Harlem Renaissance Poet, wrote in her poem Flag Salute about the violence of lynching and the gap between the purported ideals of the United States and the way it treated and continues to treat black people. OEI Centers serve and support people directly impacted by this violence and will continue to work to center the voices of marginalized and minoritized peoples and communities as we strive to practice anti-racism and work toward justice.
As you navigate the global pandemic in your respective communities, we encourage you to find ways to balance a desire to remain informed about ongoing developments with the need for self-care. We are aware of how difficult it can be to witness acts of violence and brutality. Further, as Dickinson students who have received instruction emphasizing critical thinking, we hope you are able to engage your family, friends, and community in dialogue about the events that triggered this nationwide movement and its importance for the nation’s future.
When the new academic year resumes, regardless of the format, we hope to engage the community in ongoing dialogue about the dual impact of the global pandemic and the fight against racial violence on our well-being.
Written by Donna M. Bickford Ph.D. (Director, Women’s and Gender Resource Center), Vincent L. Stephens, Ph.D. (Director, Popel Shaw Center for Race and Ethnicity), and Rabbi Marley Weiner (Director, Asbell Center for Jewish Life)
June 2, 2020