Since George Floyd’s death just two weeks ago on May 25th, an outraged America (and world) took to the streets in an outcry against the racism that remains deeply ingrained in American society. Through protests, which in parts of the country have escalated to the point of violence, people are attempting to have their voices heard in a system that refuses to acknowledge them. In this article, Wesleying collects some of the responses from the Wesleyan community, both from students and the administration so that voices can continue to be heard today and in the future as we fight to make our country better for everyone living in it.
On May 30th, President Roth sent out the following all-school email on behalf of the University:
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. We speak their names with sorrow and with anger. In recent weeks, we confront once again the fact that in America some people so radically devalue African Americans that their lives can be just brutally destroyed. The precarity of black lives has a very long history in this country, but now technology makes it possible for people everywhere to witness violent injustice. We witness, and we are disgusted; we witness, and we are enraged; we witness, and we mourn. Black Lives Matter.
As a historically white institution, Wesleyan has struggled with our own history of racism. Over the last several decades, thanks to the work of activist students, faculty, staff and alumni, we have become more aware of the ways in which the ideology of white supremacy has affected this history and our own present. We try to build a different kind of community – one in which racism, hate and intolerance have no place. This is an ongoing project, and we re-dedicate ourselves to it.
Our Wesleyan education includes the aspiration to act “for the good of the world.” Rejecting hatred and the violence it inspires, we can engage with others to construct alternatives to poverty, marginalization and prejudice. We witness and we choose how to respond; let us do so in ways that prefigure the kind of world we hope to build.
With compassion and solidarity,
Michael Roth, President
At Wesleying we invited students on Wesadmits to submit their own experiences or thoughts on the events of the days prior and received only two responses (likely because Wesadmits receives less traffic during the summer months). The students will remain anonymous.
From the class of 2021:
Hey, fellow white and wealthy students: I know there are a lot of you. I know you’re reading this (even if you call yourself “upper-middle class” or “not rich”). We all got a refund from ResLife this year due to the coronavirus crisis. Give yours to a movement that matters. You don’t need that money. We talk about wealth distribution- put your money where your mouth is. I dare you, white wealthy peers, to be inconvenienced by police brutality and white supremacy.
From the class of 2023:
I continue to struggle with what’s been going on. My friend and I have been attending protests in our small town, and one in NYC. The protests at our home towns felt different and in a not so good way. Many people there from our old high schools came and proved that performative activism is still alive and well, sadly. So her and I have felt out of place and at many times have been questioned for our activism. My mental health and physical health have taken a toll, but in many ways I don’t and can’t go back to how I was before. I was angry before for the countless lives taken before, but in many ways was putting it on the back burner of my mind until brought up in conversation, which I feel guilty for. Now I won’t rest or stop fighting, because this movement is not about me.
If anyone else wishes to have their thoughts saved here, the submission form will remain open for the following weeks.
In the WesAdmits Facebook groups, we’ve also seen a number of students have offered their support as well as ways to support:
- People are making posts saying their employers will match donations, so you can potentially double your donation power. Check Wesadmits before donating.
- A link to a google drive named “Africana Studies” was posted which contains some very illuminating reading material
- Wesleyan Democrats, Sunrise Movement Middletown Hub, and Wesleyan Democratic Socialists are organizing phone banks for Samelys Lopez for congress in NY’s 15th district. Keep an eye out for their posts if this interests you.
- A student made the following post which illuminated how one can be an ally:
Hey Wes folks! Congrats on finishing the semester!
Since we’re all so good on social justice, then let me ask you a question. What can we, as cardinals, do to help bring justice to George Floyd and the many innocents who were murdered at the hands of supremacists?
I’m more speaking to allies, non-black people, because having your support will be very beneficial in helping to prosecuting these murderers.
The media might be on Floyd’s side, but it’s not just about this one incident. People are outraged at similar events taking places for a number of years now.
What can cyou do as an Ally?
1. Stop argueing about what is and isn’t racist. Don’t whitesplain racism.
2. Black & Brown Lives > white feelings (don’t call the cops when our feelings get hurt because that’s a death sentence to us)
3. Sit with your comfort & yes, being colorblind isn’t good nor a real thing.
4. Don’t silence P.O.Cs. Don’t talk over P.OC voices. Amplify our voices. Just listen!
5. UNDERSTAND YOUR PRIVELEGE & DO something about it. Confront racism when you see it.
Also if you’re joining the protests, please practice social distancing.
Here are links where you can help by donating to GoFundMes, signing petitions and getting the word out about them!
3. [Minnesota Freedom Fund](https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/)
4. [Northstar Health Collective](https://northstarhealth.wordpress.com/donate/)
5. [George Floyd Memorial Fund](https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd)
Call your representatives and let our voices be heard!
There are two pandemics happening: Racism and Covd-19 and you can help stop racism if you just do your part!
- The Wesleyan Student Muslin Association posted the following message and are accepting donations @zainab-mubasher on Venmo which will be spread to 12 funds using Act Blue :
We the students of Wesleyan University’s Muslim Student Association stand with Black people around the world as they fight against the systemic injustices and violence that have happened and continue to happen today. It is sad and disheartening to see the world like this and for black people to lose their lives and live in fear due to the color of their skin, which is beautiful. We the people, must work to fight against our failed government and bring about change. To do this the MSA has decided to raise funds in order to aid those that are on the frontlines of this revolution. We stand with you. BLACK LIVES MATTER. ??????
If we missed your post please send us an email at staff [@] wesleying.org and we’ll add it here.
Below are two non-Wesleyan related sites with a curated and constantly updated collection of links that provide a huge number of ways anyone can get involved.