An Open Letter To Our Allies in the Goucher College Community
Your Black classmates are experiencing a multitude of emotions right now, and there is no one right way to react to what is happening. Check on them, let them vent, be a safe space, or ask how you can support them. As stated during our Fall 2018 Black Out speech, “show up for us when we’re hurting, not just when we’re hosting a fashion show.” It is not OK to be a part of enjoying our talents and successes if you are silent while we are in pain.
Additionally, the Goucher Black Student Union, urges you to respect our emotions and space during this time. We have the right to express anger, the right to take time to process, the right to distance ourselves from social media, the right to lean into our distractions, and whatever else we individually decide to do.
Non-Black students, we need you to be aware of your privileges (race, class, etc.), and to please remember that we are not entirely responsible for educating you on racial inequalities. The world is full of information, and it is up to you to access it. For example, you can learn about George Floyd and what led to the recent protests in Minneapolis with the below resources:
- A letter written by Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, on GoFundMe: Official George Floyd Memorial Fund organized by Philonise Floyd | GoFundMe
- The fatal arrest of George Floyd, a black man kneed in the neck by police, explained | Vox News (To clarify, Vox is not Fox News. The source does not include graphic images, but includes a graphic description about his murder.)
You may also research information about activist groups that are involved with protests in and outside of Minnesota. Here are a few to start with:
- Take Action Minnesota | Justice for George Floyd
- Black Visions Collective (@BlackVisionsMN) | Twitter
- MN ACTIVIST | About Page (they also have a great organizations database)
- Black Lives Matter Organization | Chapters Page
We also ask that you utilize your social media platforms, no matter how big or small your following is, to share articles and posts that support Black people and Black activists. However, while you are on social media, please be take the following actions:
- Protect protestors’ identities by either not posting up-close pictures or blurring their faces out. This will help them avoid police targeting.
- Be aware of false information. BuzzFeed News wrote an article that they are continually updating regarding this piece of advice: Here Are The Hoaxes About The Minneapolis Protests And Death Of George Floyd.
The support that you give us through retweets and story posts is appreciated, but we also need your help off screen. Performative activism is not enough if you can’t back it up. Reblogs won’t make us feel comfortable in the classroom, in our dorms, in the gym, or walking down Van Meter Highway. What we need from you is action. We need to know that you stand with us and are willing to listen to our voices, challenge those who spread ignorance, and utilize your power to enact change in your neighborhoods. Institutions are responsible for allowing racism to spread insidiously, and individuals perpetuate those ideas through various forms of actions, words, and silence.
We would also like to note that the momentum needed by activist groups to enact the change we wish to see can only be done if they have the funds to do so. Donations are put towards causes that can make a huge difference, such as bailing out protestors and providing medical supplies for someone on the front line. Most importantly, it ensures that the movements surrounding George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others are not in vain. Please give to a reputable organization in support of the Black community. But remember that to solidify that you stand with us does not only come from your donations―it comes from the actions you take in your day-to-day lives.
Please be aware that racism does not have to be overt; it can be subtle. The behaviors you demonstrate are seen, the words you say are heard, and the toxicity that they breed is felt. When you blame our communities for the issues put in place to oppress us, you are denying the existence of white privilege and reinforce your own positions of power. When you claim that we are “one human family” or you “don’t see color,” you refuse to acknowledge that Black people are not held in the same regard as those who are white. If you want to help our communities, you will treat us as equals. If you are genuinely the ally that we need in these trying times, you will respect our needs and requests.
The Executive Board of the Goucher Black Student Union
We encourage you to read our other two letters, one addressed to our Goucher President (Response to Presidential Statement) and our first letter to the Goucher Community (The Goucher Black Student Union Mourns the Recent Deaths in the Black Community).