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Graduate School of Geography’s Commitment to Combat Systemic Racism

To the GSG Community,

We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others killed by violent policing in the United States. We condemn the systemic racism that motivates police and ordinary citizens to disproportionately target Black people and other marginalized groups for aggressive law enforcement, excessive penal measures, and other forms of violence. We recognize that this racism is deeply ingrained in all dimensions of our society.

We recognize the centrality of Black life and anti-black racism to the current moment in the United States, and stand in solidarity with all those who face forms of institutionalized oppression. We declare our unequivocal and clear support for the broader aims of the protests currently sweeping the United States and elsewhere: to dismantle the structural inequities facing Black people and other marginalized groups. This moment offers an important opportunity to invest meaningfully in the necessary social, economic, and political changes to the GSG’s practices and policies.

As members of the GSG, we must participate strenuously in the work needed to make these changes, because these iniquities exist within our own community, at multiple scales. As the American Association of Geographers also affirms in its public statement, geographers have much to do as an academic community in this domain beyond continuing the important work of critical scholarship in revealing and contesting the many forms, causes and impacts of institutionalized racism and oppression. As the GSG, we commit to be active and dedicated participants in the continual and difficult work of transformation. To further advance our continuing work on these issues, we will undertake the following immediate actions:

  • To support unequivocally those in the GSG community most directly affected by recent events. This support includes, but is not limited to, recognition of the needs to attend to personal safety and well-being and to engage in protest and solidarity-building.
  • To engage in action-oriented dialogue on how to advance the cause of diversity, inclusion and social justice in our university and broader Worcester community, and beyond.
  • To contribute to the student travel fund of the Black Geographies Specialty Group of the American Association of Geography.

In the medium and long-term, we will accelerate our efforts to translate our principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into practice. In doing so, we will prioritize the recommendations of those in our profession whose lived experiences are most burdened by racism, which include:

  • Actively seeking to recruit, hire, promote, and retain faculty of color;
  • Viewing service and mentoring that support racial justice and students from under-represented groups as the responsibility of all faculty, while recognizing that both often fall disproportionately upon faculty from under-represented groups for historical and structural reasons;
  • Actively seeking to recruit, admit, and support undergraduate and graduate students of color.
  • Supporting calls and efforts by Clark students and others to rethink campus safety and policing.

Signed,

The faculty of the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University