June 2, 2020
To our NCORE Community:
The staff of the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) have been monitoring recent protests seen in cities across the United States with a sense of solemn solidarity with those who are acting from a place of loving commitment to the justice and change required for our country to move forward. These protests – which have erupted in the wake of the racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, along with the racist confrontation of Christian Cooper in Central Park of New York, underline the importance of the work the NCORE community is doing to transform our institutions and ourselves in the service of social justice. We see you, we are grateful for you, and we are filled with an insurmountable resolve to continue to support your work, however possible.
Our great challenge now is to address the systemic racism that exists in all of our institutions and bring about the deep policy, practice, and, systems changes that must happen. Our words must be supported with strategic actions to move us in a direction that ensures equity for all. We must continue to say: “What happens after the protest? The protest is the beginning, not the end.”
As a department of the University of Oklahoma Outreach/College of Continuing Education, we are heartened by the words of our university president, Joseph Harroz, Jr., who recently published the following statement responsive to the protests:
“Ninety-nine years ago today, blood began to flow down Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre ensued, marking one of the most tragic events in the history of our state and nation. And now, nearly a century later, we continue to live with the same violence and vitriol. The recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are stark examples of black lives lost due to senseless brutality. We know that racism in all of its forms, explicit and implicit, is never more unfair than when it leads to the needless loss of a life. To become the country we know we can be, we must honestly address the issues that underlie these societal divisions and make real, systemic change. I urge our entire OU family to lend support, advocacy, and love to the marginalized black members of our own community. Together, we are stronger.”
Belinda, Biscoe, Ph.D., Interim Senior Associate Vice President for Outreach/College of Continuing