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The following statement was approved by a majority of the History department faculty.
Statement in Support of Racial Justice and Anti-Racism
We believe that Black lives matter. We join our colleagues throughout SJSU in condemning the recent publicized killings of Black Americans as well as so many other Black lives ended by police violence. As historians, we are well placed to understand the roots of policing in slave patrols and the deep and ongoing connection between the American criminal justice system and the maintenance of white supremacy. We deplore all acts of extra-legal violence against African Americans, Indigenous People, and People of Color, religious and cultural minorities, as well as women, queer and trans people. This moment illustrates the important work we as historians can do to share this understanding and educate those beyond our community on the creation and maintenance of social hierarchies, racial disparities, and economic inequalities in our shared past.
Yet, it is time for us to not just shed light on systemic racism and the multiple
institutions in our nation that perpetuate inequalities. It is time for us to play
an active role in dismantling such systems, starting with reforms to American institutions
to address the disjuncture between the nation’s aspirational values and its reality
on the ground. We recognize that education is one such system. We therefore support
initiatives that demonstrate and reaffirm our values of equity, inclusion, and racial
and social justice such as:
- Expand our curriculum and course offerings on not only the history of structural racism, but also the resistance and resilience of marginalized groups - what historians call “agency”
- Reach out to local communities to share our discipline’s perspective on topics such as the history of race and policing, the creation of the carceral state, as well as civil rights movements and community resistance
- Share scholarship and resources to support anti-racist education with our students and the SJSU community
- Draw on the expertise of our faculty who study these experiences in the U.S. and beyond to explore how systemic racism and oppression have affected the lives of many groups
- Support teaching practices that promote equity and inclusion