During Thanksgiving week, stickers bearing the image of Adolf Hitler were placed on the Asbell Center for Jewish Life sign. These stickers, as well as stickers bearing heinous white supremacist slogans were also attached to a poster for the “Horace Pippin: Racism & War” exhibit. These two incidents are clearly connected, unfortunately drawing on a long historical precedent linking anti-Black racism to antisemitism. While the investigation of who perpetrated these acts is ongoing, the Office of Equity and Inclusivity (OEI) seeks to address the impact that these messages have had on our campus community.
The collective mission of OEI is to combat multiple forms of injustice and inequity and to provide all Dickinsonians the tools to do so themselves. Since we are committed to an intersectional approach that include the ways that racism and antisemitism have historically been connected, we can learn from the robust legacy of solidarity among the Jewish and Black communities in the United States. We need only remember that the NAACP was co-founded with support from Jewish leaders and that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s saw collaboration and investment from both communities to know that this solidarity is possible and a sign of our strength together. In the summer of 2020, Jewish leaders across the country came out in support of the protests in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, and Jews of color gathered this year to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish on the anniversary of his death. As inheritors and part of this legacy, we can all join our voices in condemnation of these expressions of white supremacy and work toward our goal of building a better world free from discrimination, bias, and acts of hatred.
If you need support in light of these incidents, please contact us. You may particularly wish to reach out to Rabbi Marley Weiner, director of the Asbell Center for Jewish Life, or Makeeba Browne, interim director of the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity; however, all of the OEI directors are available to provide support. If you are interested in learning more about how people have worked in coalition to address racism and antisemitism, we also invite you to reach out to us. We offer educational and cocurricular programming on anti-racism and addressing antisemitism throughout the year. Finally, we offer our support and guidance to any and all members of the Dickinson community who are interested in taking part in fighting these linked injustices.
Furthermore, the Directors of OEI offices and centers are members of BERT, Dickinson’s Bias Education and Response Team. If you experience bias in any form, or you witness something which you believe may be bias, we encourage you to file a BERT report at dickinson.edu/bias. All BERT reports are taken seriously and are reviewed by the BERT coordinator (currently Cody Nielsen, director of the Center for Spirituality and Social Justice) for follow up upon request. Filing a BERT report helps us all have greater awareness of concerns occurring across Dickinson while also providing individuals with support when they or others experience bias. Together, we can take informed action to promote equity and inclusivity and reject and prevent bias and discrimination on and off campus.
The Office of Equity and Inclusivity (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)
December 6, 2021