From Nik Theodore and Jered Carr
George Floyd. We say his name, though we continue to struggle with unspeakable anger and grief. But speak we must.
The murder of George Floyd has laid bare—once again and for all to see—the everyday violence of racism in this country and the need for systemic change. Let us be clear: racism distorts, perverts and corrupts every institution in the United States, and racial inequality is a defining feature of each and every domain of American life. Economic opportunity. Health. Education. Housing. Food security. Justice. Even life itself. This must change.
Let us also be clear: this is not someone else’s fight.
Racial justice must be a centerpiece of the work all of us do as individuals and in our communities, organizations, and workplaces. As educators and as urban planners, public administrators, urban designers, policy analysts, and community organizers who create budgets for city services, design public spaces, direct nonprofits, and recommend policies, it is essential that we listen to those who have firsthand experience with racism, as well as with the systemic denial of opportunity and the unequal outcomes this produces. The voices calling for systems change must be heard.
We are under no illusions that this struggle will be a quick one. As we grapple with the challenges before us, we reflect on the insights of the Combahee River Collective that “the major systems of oppression are interlocking” and “most often experienced simultaneously.” Therefore, it is imperative that we acknowledge and root out all forms of oppression and discrimination, including but not limited to those based on race, religion, gender and sexuality, ableism, and immigration status.
We ally with those who are grieving, especially in black communities, and with those who march to demand justice and an end to systemic racism. We share in their pain, in their anger, and in their demands for justice, both for George Floyd and for communities across the country that have suffered state-sanctioned violence and institutional racism for far, far too long.
In solidarity and with a fortified commitment to social justice,
Nik Theodore, Department Head, Urban Planning and Policy
Jered Carr, Department Head, Public Administration