BLACK LIVES MATTER
In solidarity with local and global movements to preserve and honor black lives, dismantle white supremacy, and interrogate the vexed history that has brought us to this moment, Africana Studies at Rutgers-Camden affirms the following principles:
- We affirm the value of all human life, and that of all human beings, regardless of their criminal history, drug use, physical build, level of education, economic status, investment in wage labor, relationship to homeownership, immigration status, use of the English language, or language community.
- We affirm that a return to “peace” and calls for “law and order” are part of the problem and not the solution. The conditions of “peace” and “law and order” are what enable the murder and maiming of black folks, whether in broad daylight or under the cover of night.
- We affirm that the police (and the system of law enforcement that makes it legible and legitimate) are not fit, as currently imagined and constructed, to protect the rights of poor, dispossessed, and marginalized people in the United States.
- We affirm that police violence is real violence, and therefore the police force, as it is currently imagined and constructed, is in no position to “protect and serve.”
- We affirm that black bodies are human bodies; they bruise when met with force; they bleed when met with blows. Black people have no greater ability to sustain violence than any other human beings. The black body is no more a weapon than any other body.
- We affirm that silence is complicity.
- We affirm that the anti-black racism and white supremacy are widespread, ordinary, and flexible; in the words of Gwendolyn Brooks, the perpetrators of anti-black racism “are like people everywhere.”
- We affirm that all people, including and especially white people, have a role to play in the dismantling of white supremacy and the systems of containment, denigration, and death that it demands.
- We affirm the possibility that this is not likely to end well, that in fact, the desire for happy endings is what prevents us from talking honestly about the effects and ordinariness of anti-black racism and white supremacy. We take one step closer to this unfortunate future every time we deny its reality.
- We affirm the rich networks of human care that have been invented and nurtured in black communities and other communities of color. Each instance of police brutality threatens not just individuals but the crucial social systems that support the most vulnerable among us. Any threat to these systems is a threat to the fabric of American society.
We offer these affirmations as openings or possibilities for current and future action.