Ethnic Studies, as a field and as a department, was born of struggles against racial violence, settler colonialism and imperialism. It was only institutionalized because of Third-World student-led organizing efforts to hold universities accountable for their histories of exclusion, discrimination, neglect and intellectual erasure. Drawing on generations of radical thinkers, we are committed to centering racial justice in our teaching, research and community engagement. We stand in solidarity with UCR Demands to Administration-Call to Action as well as the international Movement for Black Lives. While the current crisis exposes the violent realities of systemic anti-Black racism in the United States, we recognize that institutions of higher learning have reproduced and legitimized laws, policies and practices of anti-Blackness in society.
We therefore call on UCR administration to not only address the Demands’ specific concerns regarding the current crisis, but also critically confront anti-Black racism in institutional policies, programs, practices, and all aspects of university life. The UCR Ethnic Studies Department has expanded its community engagement focus and is actively working to support existing and new-found grassroots organizations that seek to end anti-Black racism and racist systems of policing, criminalization, and detention. We call on the UCR administration to institute substantive policy changes coupled with sustainable commitments to academic resources to proactively combat systemic racism and support ongoing struggles for a better future for all peoples. This would include defunding UCPD and establishing community-led safety programs.
The Ethnic Studies Department welcomes continued engagement with the student organizations that have created the UCR Demands to Administration in order to build strong collaborative relationships towards eradicating anti-Blackness within our department, university, communities, and in the world, as we amplify Black voices and Black scholarship in all programming. We call on the UCR administration to affirmatively commit greater institutional resources and funds toward these efforts under the guidance of Black students, staff, faculty, and community members. We further call on the UCR administration to adequately fund and support Black Studies by dramatically increasing the number of Ethnic Studies hires in Black Studies with the goal of educating our students and producing knowledge for the world to contribute towards the eradication of anti-Black racism.
*Photo from homepage is a “Black Lives Matter” mural in Palo Alto, CA. Courtesy Benny Villarreal Photography.