As the Black Student Union of Washington & Jefferson College, we feel that it is our duty to not only hear and fight the racial injustices of our time, but to honor those who have lost their lives and sow them into our education, daily lives, and future. A bastion for uncommon integrity, maturity, and responsibility, the W&J education ensures our zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and racism of all kind. Priding ourselves on the diversity and inclusion at the college, we have faith that it fostered the same spirit in you and hope that you act with us in our time of need and pain.
Black people have been systematically oppressed, dehumanized, and brutalized by police. As members of the Black Community, we wonder why our skin color must be a death sentence and why we need to protest in order for the police to be held accountable. Out life is of value. We demand respect, we have worth, and the message of the Black Lives Matter Movement is exactly that.
Being black is not a job, our skin is not a uniform. We did not choose this life. From the moment the world gazes upon our beautiful brown skin and kinky hair we are deemed political. Nothing more than an infant and we are already spurned. We live this life day in and day out, we protest and speak out time and time again. What about you? When will be the last time we fear going inside? When will be the last time we mourn for the life of our unarmed brothers and sisters? When will be the last time we have to justify our existence? We are heartbroken, we are exhausted, we are numb, we are enraged, we are present. You laughed with me in the commons, you worked with me on our class project, you sat next to me in lecture. Yet you do not stand up for me when I am threatened, tormented, and brutalized. What you call silence, we call complicit. What you call impartial, we call betrayal. However, we are not hopeless. We are not afraid. There is no controversy in demanding accountability and justice. The current climate fosters an environment of unrest. All lives cannot matter until black lives do.
To those whose outage is directed at the revolt rather than the brutalization of black people by the police for years without justice and consequence, you have missed the message. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all the other people who weren’t fortunate to have their stories told has forced back into the cycle of protesting for our right to live. This is the time where we call on support from everyone who’s claimed to be our allies thus far. Help us at these protests, utilize your privilege through shielding protestors, using your voice, and, in general, supporting black people fight the racial injustices in this country.
We are tired. Tired of the cycle of innocent black persons getting murdered the peaceful protest and social media hashtags then no resolution or change then rinse and repeat. This (out)rage has always been the inevitable outcome. To our allies, we are thankful for you seeing us, hearing us, and mourning for us but now we are calling on you to do more than reposting on social media. It is time for you to do your part. Use your privilege to call out your elders and peers, donate, participate, and advocate. To those protesting around our nation, we ask that you be cautious, caring, and competent.
For Sarah Reed, Antwan Rose, Philando Castile, Sandra Annette Bland, Black Wall Street, for the communities we have lost, people this word count will not let me include, and those not caught on video. Yes, this is a problem. Yes, this is disturbing. Yes, you should take action.
Visit https://blacklivesmatter.com/ for more information about how you can help seek justice for George Floyd and the black community.
The Washington & Jefferson College 2019-20 Black Student Union Executive Board
President Leo Ofili ’21
Vice President Tamia Mickens ’21
Secretary Kwinton Adams ’20
Parlimentarian Jasmine Dey ’23