FAIRBORN — Wright State University’s Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and combined programs of Applied Behavioral Sciences, African and African American Studies, Sociology, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies released a joint statement of solidarity and support for international protests against disenfranchisement, systemic racism and evaluation and promotion of civic-minded law enforcement reform.
The statement was released on Juneteenth — June 19 — in honor of one of the final acts of the emancipation of slaves in the United States.
“The tragic death of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, John Crawford III and so many others) has galvanized our nation and started a social movement, as activists take to the streets to protest police violence,” the statement said. “This moment pushes us to examine our biases and how prejudices such as racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia affect our lives and the lives of our students, colleagues and community members. The impact of the tragic and unacceptable events in our nation is felt by every single member of the Wright State University community: every student, every staff member and every faculty member. We are called to mourn, to listen — and ultimately to learn and change.”
The group argued that the social movement is just another reason why interdisciplinary, diversity-focused programs and centers — teaching students to identify systemic oppressions — are important today.
“The study of American history, implicit bias and the ways in which we operate within society is imperative in order to correct systemic mistakes and injustices,” the statement continued. “Proper, contextual understanding of power and history is necessary to overcome and heal from the problems we face today.”
The faculty, staff and students of those WSU programs said they are dedicated to fighting injustice and have united to support equality for all.
“For example, in recent newscasts, we have seen both current CJS students and alumni of our program kneeling in solidarity with protesters of the crime and justice system. Their collaboration is nothing short of inspiring,” they said. “We will continue to instill in our CJS majors, as we do all students, a fervid awareness of social justice and equity as they become the criminal justice personnel of the future.”
According to the statement, the Bolinga Center and the Sociology and Anthropology departments will continue to stay committed to providing course offerings and programming that highlight social, anthropological, historical and current perspectives “of issues germane to understanding social life, social problems and the impetus and need for social change.”
“Additionally, our academic programs will continue to explore future opportunities to engage students and the community members in guest lectures and panel discussions that can facilitate learning and growth. We must fight injustice wherever and whenever we see it, both on our campus and in our community,” they said.
The Wright State University Library has created an Anti-Racism Research Guide for those who are trying to better understand the social movement happening locally and country-wide.
The statement continued, “Please familiarize yourself with the resources there for education and action so we can move forward as a community committed to studying, supporting, facilitating and promoting inclusion and social justice both in the present and the future.”