By the President and Executive Board on behalf of the entire CAAR membership
The Collegium for African American Research (CAAR) vehemently condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020. The killing of these men and woman in quick succession is an undeniable illustration of the continuing oppression faced by people of African descent in the United States of America. CAAR denounces the taking of these and so many other Black lives in recent years. The blatant assault on the victims’ bodies and audacious extermination of their fundamental right to BREATHE are manifestations of the endemic proportions of systemic racism and White supremacist violence.
CAAR stands in solidarity with the families and communities of George Floyd and the other victims. Even in this strange era of social distancing, the pain and anguish felt by the victims’ families and the communities to which they belonged and contributed are palpable. We also experience the anger engendered by the afflictions that these incidents expose—anti-blackness, racial profiling, and police brutality. We are encouraged by the constructive protests that this anger has generated. In this historical moment of unprecedented crisis, during which we are challenged by the confluence of systemic racism and a global pandemic, we applaud the very public unrelenting multi-day, multi-city, multi-racial, multi-generational, Trans-Atlantic global protest. In this defiant struggle we see encouraging signs of a resurgence of a global revolutionary movement demanding that the OPPRESSION MUST END!
This poignant time is one for deep reflections. The killing of George Floyd evokes historical and contemporary injustices, as flagrantly demonstrated in the killing of Emmett Till, Mulugeta Seraw, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Atatiana Jefferson, to name a few. We, as CAAR members, will strive to move beyond reflections and ensure that our actions lead to critical understanding and direct engagement with people of African descent and their lived experiences. CAAR, an international interdisciplinary organization devoted to Black Studies, is already a platform for such contributions. Coming from our diverse Black Studies-related disciplines, areas, and subfields, we will produce and share knowledge and analyses that are activist and transformative.
As we mourn the death of George Floyd, we also celebrate his life and the lives of numerous others whose breath was stopped by the hands of racists emboldened by a centuries-old system of oppression. We denounce that system and we stand in solidarity with the millions of protesters in American cities and around the world and declare that we will fight racism and other forms of oppression. As an organization, CAAR will serve as a scholarly and activist forum in support of this fight!