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Students sitting and talking outside Barry Arts Building.

Message regarding the Struggle for Racial Justice

The College of Arts and Letters stands in solidarity with the thousands of people protesting the persistent injustice, oppression, police violence, and systemic racism directed against black and indigenous communities. We condemn not only the brutal and despicable murder of George Floyd, but also the racist killings of Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and countless others. We stand with ODU's President, John R. Broderick, in hoping that George Floyd's tragic and senseless death will prompt everyone to say "No more" to the racist beliefs, practices, and social arrangements that continue to suffocate African Americans and other people of color.

For too long, black Americans have had to bear the consequences of rigged social and economic structures, unequal justice systems, and white hatred or apathy. It is time for all of us to challenge these oppressive social realities and demand change. We cannot and must not remain silent about the dehumanizing impact of systemic racism. It is time for all of us to speak out and take actions that will ensure black Americans can experience their most fundamental rights as human beings, which include the rights to life, liberty, equal opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness.

The College of Arts and Letters will continue to champion these rights, particularly through its commitment to providing anti-racist education, promoting equity and inclusivity, and pursuing social justice. As Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, "Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, struggle, and suffering: the tireless exertions and passionate concerns of dedicated individuals." The College encourages all of its members to engage in the sacrifice, struggle, and tireless exertion that can end racism and promote inclusive relationships and communities.