As faculty of the Department of Religious Studies, we express our profound sadness and anger at the most recent revelations of America’s long-standing violence against Black bodies.
To our African American colleagues and students: we see you; we grieve with you; we pledge to become ever more effective allies in dismantling white supremacy and its systemic legacies. As scholars of religion, we commit ourselves to understanding more fully how religion promotes racism, how anti-blackness has shaped American religion, and how it functions as an organizing value in our world.
Knowing that statements of solidarity are not sufficient to meet the needs of people of color, we further commit ourselves to learning how we can best use our scholarship, our classrooms, and our resources to mitigate against the dehumanization of Black, Brown, and indigenous people and to help African American students—and communities of color generally—survive and thrive.
Because learning how to do this well takes time, we will devote sustained, focused attention over the coming academic year to discerning how best to meet these commitments, and will announce the specific, concrete actions we will take to embody these commitments by the end of the spring 2021 semester.
We welcome comments and critiques from colleagues, staff, and students of color (past and present) as we undertake this work.