Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Racism Efforts

To the GW Community:


In light of the recent actions that resulted in the loss of far too many Black lives, we join in solidarity with the multitude of voices calling for justice. To ignore history and remain silent under these circumstances is to be complicit in the same social structures our organization has worked tirelessly to fight against. We understand the hurt and pain many of you must be feeling as we continue to send thoughts and prayers to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. This is not like any other racially insensitive incident that we have experienced on campus; this is an attack on the Black community as a whole. As the first all-Black Student Association leadership team in recent memory, we stand at the forefront of ensuring an equitable experience for all students. 


This is why we find it pertinent to assure you that the Student Association believes that Black lives matter. We strongly stand in solidarity with the Black Men's Initiative, the Black Student Union, and all of the grieving Black students on this campus, as well as support their calls to action and demands from fellow students, administrators, and DC public officials. When it is clear that the systems in place do not have our best interests in mind, we encourage you to continue to make your voices heard regarding issues of bigotry and remember that it is through unity that we shall make strides towards change. 


As students of marginalized communities at a predominantly white institution, we call upon our non-Black peers and fellow students to analyze the structures in place in order to be educated on social injustices plaguing our society. This will require a process of unlearning much of what has been taught to us and relearning to usher forward in an era of tolerance and acceptance. 


We also recognize that statements are not as powerful unless followed by tangible steps toward action. Below, we have detailed what steps the Student Association has begun to take as well as provided resources for students.


Courses of Action Being Taken by the Student Association:

  1. President Brookins III and EVP Hill have made personal donations to the Chicago Community Bond Fund and the Minnesota Freedom Fund and challenge all who are able, given the current pandemic, to match their donations.

  2. We are in the process of creating a space to facilitate a dialogue on police brutality and white supremacy and will continue to keep you all updated as decisions are reached.

  3. President Brookins III and EVP Hill will be holding virtual office hours on Monday, June 1st, from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm ET for those interested in discussing what is currently going on. We are also here to act as a resource for Predominantly White Student Organizations (PWSO) interested in helping out but are unsure how to do so. Alongside our interim VP for Student Activities, we will be working on creating a guide to creating an actively antiracist environment within GW’s student organizations. Please contact either of us at hbrookins@gwu.edu or Hillbrandonw00@gwu.edu if you have feedback.

  4. We will be following in the footsteps of the Georgetown University Student Association in pushing for a GWPD Climate Survey to be conducted when we return to campus. We will also be encouraging the implementation of implicit and unconscious bias training for all members of the George Washington University Police Department. 

  5. We will have representatives from the Student Association serving on the Safety and Security Advisory board and pushing for a GWPD Climate Survey as well as unconscious bias training for all GWPD officers.

  6. We have had conversations with administrators to ensure that they hear the students' pleas and recognize how our university perpetuates white supremacy and police brutality. They will listen to us.


Resources:


We are here as a resource for all students. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns that you have at this time.


Yours in solidarity,


Howard Brookins III, SA President

Brandon W. Hill, SA Executive Vice President

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The Student Association at The George Washington University

800 21st Street NW, Suite 427

Washington, DC 20052

gwsa@gwu.edu

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