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UO Sociology Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives and Racial Justice

In solidarity with Black communities within and beyond the United States, as well as with various academic communities and the American Sociological Association, we emphatically assert that Black lives matter.

We recognize the dignity and humanity of every Black person. We mourn the murder of all black people, notably Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd but also countless others.

We condemn police brutality and racism that reflect the anti-Blackness pervasive throughout the world. We lend our voices to the chorus of people who have protested in the streets around the world in support of Black lives and racial justice, following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer in 2013 and George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020.

We demand action at every level of government to hold accountable every police officer who violates the law and the rights of others. In particular, we call for robust federal assistance to convince and enable local and state governments to restructure police union contracts and to hold the police accountable to the individuals and communities that they serve.

As sociologists, we recognize that the anti-Blackness associated with police brutality is part of a systemic racism that is rooted in the United States’ original sins of slavery and settler colonialism. This complex of attitudinal, cultural, and structural racism has been renewed in many forms throughout the nation’s history. This includes the racial disparities in COVID-19 illnesses and deaths; the ongoing dispossession and erasure of Indigenous lands and peoples; the increase in anti-Asian hate crimes resulting from efforts to blame China for COVID-19; and recent immigration policies that target Latinx individuals and communities, separate children from their parents, bar refugees from entering the country, and inflict unnecessary suffering upon countless migrants.

As a department, we understand the recent protests across the nation as a reflection of the pain, anger, and profound injustice stemming from centuries of white supremacist violence and oppression that is systemically organized through economic, political, and social institutions. We recognize that making the university more inclusive for communities of color is a responsibility that should not fall solely or even primarily on the shoulders of students, faculty, and staff of color who already experience the heavy weight of racial inequities and hostilities in our community and at the university.

Accordingly, we rededicate ourselves to rooting out anti-Blackness and racism in our own midst, whether it is found in our canon, our syllabi, our admissions committees, our hiring committees, our advising and mentoring, our institutional and professional service, or our citation and co-authorship patterns. Furthermore, we pledge to identify specific actions that push beyond self-education, diversity training, and campus programming and toward advocating for antiracist policies and structural changes at the University of Oregon and the State of Oregon.