Dear Harvard community members,
It is with deep sorrow and fury that we’ve struggled to navigate this pivotal moment in history. We mourn Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, and those whose names we have never learned. We recognize Iyanna Dior and all other Black transgender, non-binary, and intersex people recovering from hate crimes. It is imperative that we dismantle white supremacy together and acknowledge its impact on all intersections with Black communities that are often overlooked and underserved. We affirm that all Black lives matter – all the time. We acknowledge that to matter is the minimum. Black lives are sacred and Black lives are needed.
Offices and departments across the university have affirmed the urgency of this moment. While no statement can sufficiently express the inequities and iniquities woven into the foundation of our culture, we find ourselves searching for the words which demonstrate our commitments to the wellbeing of our communities. We, the Harvard College Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion staff, have dedicated our careers to supporting and advocating the needs of those who are historically marginalized. Many of us are directly impacted by anti-Black racism, police brutality, and the casual, everyday inhumanity that appears to have seeped into every crevice of our common life.
This year has awakened many to a moral moment with an imperative to address the realities of intersecting and interlocking systems of oppression – racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, transphobia, xenophobia, etc. We continue to be inspired by the coordination and direct action of Harvard students (undergraduate and graduate alike) who have raised awareness, solicited funds, and uplifted their voices against historic and systemic anti-Blackness. We add our voices to others calling on the entire Harvard community to actively find their own place within this movement to ensure a future that is just and accessible for all.
We commit ourselves to serve the Harvard Undergraduate Student Community beyond this moment by taking the following actions:
- To serve as a source of replenishment and encouragement to our student activists and student organizations, while championing their calls for action and change.
- To advocate for policies and procedures which center the experiences of groups previously excluded in ways that dismantle white supremacy.
- To use our platforms to amplify the efforts of student organizations, such as with the recent Harvard Foundation Student Advisory Council email digest which featured the BSA Toolkit.
- To provide anti-racist educational training opportunities and spaces of peer-to-peer dialogue for students of all backgrounds to learn from one another's perspectives (e.g., the Women’s Center’s Let's Talk Series, the Diversity Peer Educator Program’s Diversity Dialogues, and the Foundation's Dialogue Series).
- To partner with student organizations to promote and sustain more inclusive cultures.
- To make ourselves available to consult with College staff and faculty seeking to increase their capacity for addressing matters of equity, inclusion, and belonging.
- To be self-reflective and do the work required to embody the critical habit of dismantling white supremacy, divest from performative action and cultivate a network of allies dedicated to intersectional activism -- because crises such as racial health disparities, climate change, the policing of Black and Brown bodies, and the broad inaccessibility of quality education are not separate issues.
- To prioritize trauma-informed community care and critical vulnerability as a necessary component of sustained resistance to systemic oppression.
- To keep ourselves accountable and commit to transparency as adding to this list will be inevitable in the ongoing fight for justice.
These moments are more than just imagining an ideal future. We commit to listening, learning, and acting because no one is free until we are all free.
In steadfast support,
The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team
Erin Clark, Title IX Coordinator, Harvard College
Livingstone Carter Cox, MFT, Assistant Director, Office of BGLTQ Student Life
Sonia M. David, MDiv, Administrative Coordinator, Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations
Bridget Duffy, Department Administrator, Equity Diversity and Inclusion
Robin M. Johnson, PhD, Director of Diversity Education & Support
Micahela Mobley, MS, Assistant Director, Harvard College Women’s Center
Diana Ortiz Giron, MDiv, Assistant Director of Diversity Education & Support
Sheehan Daniel Scarborough, Senior Director, Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations
Heidi Wickersham, MA, Director, Harvard College Women’s Center