June 3, 2020
Department of Communication and Media
University of Michigan
Dear COMM community,
We at the Department of Communication and Media are repulsed by the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd, a Black man handcuffed face-down, who died slowly and painfully while a police officer ignored his struggles for breath. And we know he is the latest of many Black individuals who lost their life at the hands of law enforcement. Just last month, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her own home by police. Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run when he was chased then shot to death. The list of police brutality against people of color, particularly Black POC, is long, and it is heavy. More than 30 years ago, rapper KRS-ONE posed the question to all law enforcement: Who protects us from you? It is nothing short of disgraceful that we are still awaiting a satisfactory answer today.
We are committed to having an inclusive and diverse community in which all individuals and constituencies feel safe, supported, and--for our students--adequately prepared to live meaningful lives when they leave Ann Arbor. Current conditions of a global pandemic, economic hardship, and social friction compel us to examine structural inequalities with new urgency and imagine new futures.
Here at Communication and Media, we will redouble our efforts to build a community of which we can be proud today and tomorrow. As we teach, learn, perform research, and engage others, we should be prepared to look directly at our own lives, behaviors, and commitments, and must bluntly ask ourselves, “Are we doing all that we can to build a better, healthier, safer world? What privilege do I have? How can I leverage this privilege against racism? What don’t I know and how can I learn more? What can I do today, tomorrow, and the next day to help dismantle structural and systemic racism?”
The Department of Communication and Media condemns racism, discrimination, and violence, and reaches out to all of you in solidarity with hope for unity and constructive purpose during this difficult time. Likewise, LSA Dean Anne Curzan declared unequivocally that Black Lives Matter and called for us to stand together. If you are looking for a place to start, you could read Vice Provost Sellers’ I Am So Tired. Join us for the Friday (6/5 noon) student town hall that President Schlissel mentioned in his email this week.
Additionally, check out this curated list of Anti-Racism Resources, which includes immediate action steps, reading lists, resources for parents on raising anti-racist children, podcasts, articles, and more.
For those especially impacted by this trauma, the U-M School of Social Work has compiled some resources that include some books, apps, and meditations for self-care and healing from race-based trauma (see second half of first page).
If you feel moved to do something right now, you could petition or donate (lists compiled by Briayna Jordan, LSA Senior, Communication and Media):
The Loveland Foundation
George Floyd Memorial Fund
The NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The Bail Project
Black Lives Matter Movement
Black Visions Collective
Minnesota Freedom Fund