Know that we have been, and will continue to do better at, creating real changes within the department to make sure that our students, faculty, staff, and constituents understand that our commitment to confronting systemic racism is not in words only.
To All Members of Our ENST Community,
We express our outrage at the recent killings of George Floyd, an unarmed black man while in custody by Minneapolis police officers, of Breonna Taylor, who was killed while sleeping in her own home by Louisville police officers, the horror of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, while jogging in Georgia by a former police officer and his son, and the threatening 911 call made by a white woman against Christian Cooper, who was birding in Central Park. Unfortunately, these current examples are not isolated, nor unique to these times. We have witnessed conspicuous, covert, and systemic racism too many times over our lifetimes. In response, our community and others across the country, have joined together to protest police brutality and inequality. Unfortunately, while most marches have been peaceful, there have been numerous acts of violence by police in cities across the country against protesters and journalists exercising their constitutional rights. These acts have added to the fear and anxiety. There have also been a few people who have exploited these protests to other means, demeaning the rightful message that "Black Lives Matter", "Say Their Name", and correcting societal injustice.
We write to express solidarity against injustices, effects of systemic racism, and a continuum of brutality against people of color in our society. You may have already seen statements of support by the University of Maryland System and by University of Maryland College Park. Our Dean, Craig Beyrouty added his voice today with his views and a list of actions that our College will take. We the undersigned, as representatives of our Faculty and Staff, endorse those statements, and we want to tell people of color that we support you during this difficult time. As President Wallace Loh stated, “as an institution, we must confront systemic racism, and via our teaching, research and public engagement missions, endeavor to advance racial equity and social justice.” We feel it is our duty, as faculty and staff, to use our collective resources to expose and work against racism and racial disparities and their debilitating effects on our society. We push back against the legacies of slavery and of racism that continue to impoverish, sicken, and in so many cases, kill people of color. These racial disparities have also emerged in disproportionate COVID19 deaths afflicting people of color, around the country and here in Maryland.
Finally, we commit ourselves to answer the call of our incoming President, Darryll Pines, "to confront this problem and bring forth solutions, because to not do so now threatens our very Democracy". Know that we have been and will continue to do better at creating real changes within the department to make sure that our students, faculty, staff, and constituents understand that our commitment to confronting systemic racism is not in words only. We will fully engage in the College plan and add our own direct actions to meeting this challenge. Additional resources are available at #UMDSolidarity webpage (go.umd.edu/UMDSolidarity), where it is stated that “Words aren’t enough. We have to act!”
William Bowerman, ENST Chair
Paul Leisnham, Associate Chair
Stephanie Lansing, Assistant Chair