Response to Anti-Black Violence in the US

Resolution in Response to Systemic and Persistent Anti-Black Violence in the United States of America

Whereas: On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered when a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota pinned him down by the neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, while he called out for help and stated that he could not breathe; and

Whereas: This event follows multiple and repeated incidents of racial violence targeting Black people, including the killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky by police in her own home, the vigilante killing of Ahmaud Arbery by two white men while jogging in a Brunswick, Georgia neighborhood, the killing of Tony McDade by police in Tallahassee, Florida; and the livestreamed killing of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed in Indianapolis, Indiana. George Floyd’s murder is not just another link in the chain of previous high-profile killings, but also a link to a sociopolitical context that fosters and reinforces systemic discrimination and institutionalized racism; and

Whereas: Protests are occurring across the United States and internationally in response to these tragic events, demanding systemic change from institutionalized racism that has targeted Black people since before this country’s founding; and

Whereas: David McAtee was tragically and senselessly killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky while participating in a local protest, exemplifying the many protesters who have been harmed by law enforcement during the course of the past week; and

Whereas: The United States Justice System has been slow to respond and hold responsible institutions and persons accountable for these acts, and the President of the United States is employing racist language against protesters and actively advocating for increased violence in the name of law enforcement, even using the U.S. military to threaten U.S. citizens peacefully protesting racial violence and police brutality; and

Whereas: The Academic Senate of Sonoma State University shares the sentiments expressed by President Sakaki’s response to these incidents of racial violence targeting black people, in which she wrote: “The raw cruelty of George Floyd’s death amplifies the inexcusable injustice of so many other vicious, needless deaths of Black men and women in our country. These deaths are not isolated incidents. They make up an insidious pattern of violence and brutality driven by pervasive, persistent racism”; and

Whereas: The Academic Senate of Sonoma State University has a longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; our Senate Diversity Subcommittee has long made recommendations that foster inclusiveness and equity, including recommending policies or programs that will enrich diversity awareness within the campus community, promoting increased diversity of student, staff and faculty on our campus, and periodically reviewing diversity in the curriculum and making recommendations and accomplishments; and

Whereas: Faculty and staff at Sonoma State University are committed to fostering critical understanding of complex and ever-growing social problems, such as racism, oppression, crime and punishment, and anchoring curriculum on research and theory that contextualizes systems of inequality and their mutual relationship with social policies. Ultimately, our courses, scholarship, and community outreach aim to advance social justice. We understand that there can never be social justice without racial justice; therefore, be it

Resolved: That the Executive Committee on behalf of the Academic Senate of Sonoma State University condemn acts of hate and violence towards Black people by individuals and local, state, and federal government institutions in the United States; and be it further

Resolved: That the Executive Committee on behalf of the Academic Senate of Sonoma State University condemn the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, and David McAtee as well as the multitudes of Black people before them, and the inadequate response (if any at all) by the formal justice system—we recognize these as systemic rather than individual failures; and be it further

Resolved: That because teaching institutions and the systemic nature of education are complicit in perpetuating a racist and unjust world, we at SSU acknowledge that we have also been complicit. We commit to supporting each other in embracing anti-racist pedagogy and dismantling anti-Black practices that undermine social justice; and be it further

Resolved: That a copy of this resolution be sent to the CSU Chancellor, the Academic Senate of the CSU, the President of Sonoma State, the Press Democrat, CSU Campus Senate Chairs, SSU Staff Council, SSU Associated Students, and all members of the Sonoma State Community.

Approved by acclamation