Statement of Solidarity: Black Lives Matter

Dear Affiliates of Crown and Merrill Colleges,

We write today to humbly send our condolences to those aching from the murders of George Floyd, 47, and Breonna Taylor-- who would have been 27 today--and too many who came before them, and to add our voices to those protesting the racist violence against Black people in America. And we write to decry the national failure to end the violence and the corrosive, systemic racism that supports it. We are outraged and saddened by this racism, which permeates our culture and has resulted in the loss of too many black lives, and the blighting of the lives of too many more. This racialized violence is not new, and each additional instance adds to the cumulative weight of pain and responsibility our nation bears. If we want a society in which all residents are treated with equal respect regardless of race or cultural affiliation, a society that lives up to ideals of freedom, equality, and respect for all, we bear responsibility for helping make that society come to life.

Many in our community are already engaged in practices and organizations actively seeking change. For those seeking meaningful ways to start contributing, we recommend beginning by taking to heart the guidance sent by Shonté Thomas, director of the African American Resource and Cultural Center. Her wise advice to non-Black people to support Black people includes the following:
  • STOP sharing photos of lifeless Black bodies. This is beyond traumatic and we have an endless stock of other images stained into our consciousness.
  • Check-in on your Black friends- something as simple as a text/ call can be beneficial.
  • Collect your people. The murderers responsible for the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and countless others all likely have parents, families, children, church family, etc. Call in racist/biased actions you see in your immediate community. If you are raising children, take time to talk to them about the underlying common fabric of this country, racism-- systematically, structurally, and institutional. Talk to them about Anti-Blackness.
  • Actively work to be anti-racist because it is not enough to be non-racist. [...] when the woman in Central Park called the cops on Christian Cooper, she knew exactly what she was doing and it could have cost him his life.
  • Do your research to be a better human--and an accomplice; [...]
  • Financially support organizations working hard to remedy the inequities put upon Black people and others with minoritized identities.
With permission we have included Shonté’s entire statement and accompanying list of resources on our Crown and Merrill websites.

Although the end of the academic year is upon us, our work in creating a more just and inclusive community continues. We will be in touch with you regarding opportunities to engage in healing, listening, and change.

If you are looking for support, especially as you go into finals, please do not hesitate to reach out. Crown and Merrill Colleges academic and student life staff, faculty, CAPS, the Resource Centers, and Slug Support are a few available options.

With Care,
Elizabeth Abrams, Merrill College Provost

Alex Belisario, Senior Director College Student Life, Crown and Merrill Colleges

Manel Camps, Crown College Provost

Julie Phillips, Associate Director College Student Life, Crown and Merrill Colleges

Winnie Tang, Lead Academic Preceptor, Crown and Merrill Colleges