Campus Response to Police Brutality

Undergraduate Student Government 

To the students of Case Western Reserve University,

On May 25th, the soul of our nation was yet again painfully wounded by the unjust taking of the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This murder, which occurred at the hands of men who were charged to protect Mr. Floyd, is one of many instances of police brutality. This event provides yet another example of the struggle of the black community, a struggle which has manifested itself from Minneapolis to New York to Cleveland, where the taking of Tamir Rice’s life shook our own local community. We are reminded of the reality that racism is not a distant problem, but rather an enemy that can find its way into any heart. It is our work to engage in the due diligence necessary to ensure that we do not become complacent with the racism that seems to surround us. We have a responsibility to our peers to fight against racial injustice in both ourselves and others.

At CWRU, we know the importance of affirming one another, standing together against injustice, and supporting each other in every aspect of life. Racism is antithetical to everything we represent as a community, and we will not stand by silently or idly as we are again reminded of its painful presence. It is exactly at times such as these that we must reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with those in greatest pain. In these moments, unity within our community is most critical. It is for this reason that we write to you all today: to show that we understand the present situation, are dedicated to action, and wish you to join us in the pursuit of justice.

To students, staff, and friends in the black community, we unequivocally recognize that your lives matter, and we stand with you in solidarity. We as a CWRU community recognize this unfathomable pain and seek ways to support those of us most impacted by the tragedy of prejudice. We also recognize that during these difficult times it may be necessary that some of us, particularly members of the black community, may need to remove ourselves from the stressors of CWRU activity or to refrain from dialogue, at least for a time. We know that the burden of action should not fall solely upon those of us in the black community but should also be shouldered by allies dedicated to improving our collective future. To those most impacted: We see you. We support you. We stand with you. We will fight with you.

For those who are not part of the black community, our role in advancing anti-racism is crucial to support our friends and colleagues. We must see the protests for what they represent, and resist the temptation to judge them by the few that riot and loot in their cities. We must maintain our focus on the source of the pain: the lives lost and endangered. In these times, it is important to educate ourselves, to reflect on the ways which we may improve, and to partner with those seeking to be the positive change that we all wish to see. We must look upon our own racial attitudes, asking ourselves where we can improve and how we can confront discrimination within our own communities. Taking a stand against racism is not a passive process. As we grow, let us find the grace to encourage one another in our efforts and to have understanding and patience with those of us who may have more to learn. Let us explore the myriad of ways we are able to be involved. To start this journey, we have attached a list of some resources below. If you are moved to and capable of protesting, please remember to maintain your own safety. We have included a link with some suggestions in the aforementioned list of resources.

We also must reflect on those ways we have fallen short as a community to combat racism. We are called to ensure that we are safe both on and off campus. However, we must take care that our proper concern for safety does not morph into a skepticism of the people who reside in CWRU's surrounding communities. They deserve our utmost respect. The stereotypes, such as the infamous warning not to “go beyond the bridge,” are reminders of where we have fallen short. Empty chairs at events sponsored by groups representing communities of color await us, and the hosts of these events are excited to welcome everyone to share in their heritage. We must ensure that we extend a warm hand of welcome to individuals of diverse backgrounds, careful not to excuse the shortcomings of both support for and representation of communities of color. We invite our faculty, staff, and administrators to engage with us regarding these issues and to have an open dialogue about racism and privilege within our campus and curriculum. We implore our administration to communicate with us more openly when they enact changes with regard to policing and security so that we may provide feedback on the policies which affect our collegiate home, informed by what we see in our world. Most importantly, we need to realize that as our University grows, so does our obligation to preserve the vibrant culture and life of the city that we share.

We, as a community, have the power to create a future of hope. Let us no longer fail to listen to the voices of those crying out to be heard. Let us be moved by their voices to grow in service and love for our fellow human beings. Let us challenge ourselves to combat prejudice where we see it, even if that is uncomfortable. And once we have been heard, let us challenge ourselves to model the kindness, mercy, forgiveness, love, unity, tolerance, and understanding that we wish the rest of the world would exude as well.

For unity today and tomorrow,

African American Society,
Black Student Union,
Residence Hall Association,
Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative,
University Media Board,
Undergraduate Student Government,
Zeta Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.,