(June 4, 2020) Once again, our nation’s history—a history borne of conquest, chattel slavery, and exclusion—is erupting into our explosive present. Covid-19, when it finally hit our shores, flagrantly exposed with undeniable clarity the deep structural inequalities created and perpetuated by state and federal policies that have purported to lift up and support all Americans, and the deeply embedded racial biases regularly employed to blame “others” for the failures of our own systems.
And now, once again, recent police killings of several unarmed Black and Brown citizens like Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor—among so many others—have moved those who suffer most severely the consequences of systemic inequality to action. Once again, our nation is being called on to account for and reckon with our past and our present so that we can finally halt the seemingly endless cycle—a cycle that we’ve been caught in since our beginnings—of superficial and narrow commitments to “equality” that have led only to more entrenched racial, gender, sex, and class inequality – and as a result, to more despair-fueled anger and necessary struggle.
Our Center—named after the late Nathaniel R. Jones, an iconic civil rights leader and a federal court of appeals judge in the latter part of his career—is committed to helping our students and others to, as Judge Jones put it, “answer the call” – the call to face head-on the complicated and violent past and present that have brought us to this point. We pledge our continued support for and engagement in the struggle toward real equality and liberation—in whatever ways we can—and always in solidarity.