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Source: Cronkite News – Arizona PBS
June 5, 2020
The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Dion Johnson - few among thousands - are part of a legacy of centuries-long state-sanctioned violence against Black and other non-white bodies. Their murders are emblematic of U.S. social structures that are entrenched in white supremacist practices, imperialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy. The School of Social Transformation (SST), and our constitutive units – African and African American Studies, American Studies, Asian Pacific American Studies, Justice and Social Inquiry, and Women and Gender Studies – have long worked toward interrogating racial justice in our research, our teaching, and our community-engaged scholarship and service. Our individual and collective work activates the very conversations we are broaching today, as a country, to expose the long and destructive nature of the ideology and practice of white supremacy. Many of our academic programs grew out of the intellectual and activist roots of the Civil Rights and New Left social movements of the 1960s, a moment which looks much like our current moment because it dared to engender democracy, and we are beholden to that tradition. In fact, it was student protests that demanded and laid the foundation for the establishment of African and African American Studies at Arizona State University.
Today, on what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, SST stands with the Movement for Black Lives (#M4BL) and all other intersectional BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color, including Latinx and Asian-American) movements, recognizing the deep history of police violence and murder, including lynching, that remain at the foundation and in the contemporary social fabric of this country. We affirm and share in the pain, anguish, and rage that many are feeling – not just in this current moment but that many have felt for centuries. We remain committed to a radical re-visioning of our country that deals frankly with the living legacies of settler colonialism, slavery, anti-Black racism, immigrant exclusion, transphobia, and homophobia as we pursue a truly just, equitable, and democratic society.
We support our students, and the communities that surround us, as they endeavor to make their voices heard to end the cycle of silence surrounding the systemic violence embedded in U.S. institutions. We will continue the fight against systems of oppression and, through our scholar activism, work to amplify voices against this state-sanctioned violence enacted on the most vulnerable. We honor the voices of activists, organic intellectuals, and community members that teach us the way forward and model social transformation.
American Indian Movement Central Arizona Chapter
School of Social Transformation
Arizona State University