Statement on Racism, Equity, and Diversity

Body

The events of the past several weeks have been so abhorrent, so distressful, so painful, that they demand a response. The Psychology Department absolutely condemns the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. We firmly stand with the Black community, their allies, and all protesters, and we unequivocally denounce any hate speech or use of force against them.

Although media headlines portray these murders as shocking and horrendous events, they represent everyday realities for Black and African-American people in this country. Today, we hear the names of Ahmaud, Breonna, and George. However, we no longer hear about Trayvon, Sandra, Eric, Tamir, Tanisha, or Philando. These murders not only reveal historical and systemic forms of injustice, but they further represent the repeated failures of our institutions to uphold values of equity and justice for Black and African-American people, and for communities of color more broadly.

Although these events are occurring on the national stage, they also prompt us to look inward and to reflect on ourselves and our Department. It is not enough to merely express support for these values; we must incorporate them into our policies, practices, and the way we treat one another. We know that the representation of our Department does not adequately reflect our commitment to diversity. Likewise, we know we can do better to create a respectful and inclusive environment. Each of us deserves opportunities for success, opportunities for self-expression, and opportunities to produce our best work. These recent events demand that we work harder to fully uphold these values as a Department.

Moving forward, Department leadership will be working closely with the Faculty Diversity Committee and the Graduate Student Diversity Committee to promote equity, justice, and well-being for all our community members. We ask all members of our community to act on these values by starting a dialogue with each other and with us. We must acknowledge whenever we fail to live up to these values, and then act swiftly to improve our policies and our practices to make sure that every person feels respected, valued, and safe in the Department of Psychology.

In the meantime, we must continue to take care of ourselves and of each other. The strength of our Department is our sense of community and we must do everything we can to support each other during these difficult and distressing times.