Dear Carolina Community,
As the leaders of several of the largest organizations on campus, we echo the statements and letters that have been shared by organizations across campus expressing solidarity with the Black community and demanding change. While our fellow students have already given voice to the gravity of this time with more emotion and eloquence than we could ever replicate, we also recognize the importance of speaking with our own united voice.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and mourn the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Monika Diamond, Sean Reed, Nina Pop, and Tony McDade. As we are all aware, these are just a few names among a long list of tragedies tied to the history of racism in this country. We recognize that silence is not an acceptable option and we are committed to standing up for what is right, just, and equitable by using our platforms to uplift and advocate for the Black community.
This commitment cannot be limited to words alone. As student leaders, we pledge ourselves to the following action items:
- Engage in and actively support education on racism (both in this country and on this campus) in an effort to create meaningful dialogue and action to address it.
- Organize campus wide programming that educates the student body about racial issues and emphasizes the importance and value of diversity.
- Create safe spaces, both within our organizations and for the wider student body, to engage in meaningful and educational dialogue.
- Speak out against and fight all forms of racism whenever and wherever we meet it: in our community, in our social circles, and in our own lives.
- Uplift minority organizations and work to intentionally provide them with the resources and platform necessary to amplify their voices.
- Push university administration to adopt similar commitments and proactively dismantle barriers to success and equal access for black students.
- Zealously defend the rights of students to engage in protests and other forms of peaceful activism.
- Formalize all of these expectations within our own organizations to continue the momentum long after we have graduated.
While these action items are important steps towards addressing racism on campus, our actions cannot end with this list and we remain flexible to learning and adopting new strategies that will meet our goals. We remain committed to supporting and advocating on behalf of every student in the Carolina community, especially black students. We encourage everyone in the Carolina community to do the same, be your most authentic self, and fight for what you believe in.
As student leaders, we stand by the Carolina Union’s mission to support “safe, inclusive, and educational experiences that enable students to maximize their time at Carolina.” We will work collaboratively, and use our positions to support the well-being of all Black students. Whether these events are occurring here on campus or beyond, as Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Darian Abernathy, Carolina Union Board of Directors Chair
Sarah Bradley, Carolina Union Board of Directors Vice Chair and CUAB President
Reeves Moseley, Student Body President
Kira Griffith, President of the Residence Hall Association
Ryan Collins, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation
Keshav Javvadi, Speaker of the Undergraduate Senate