This collective statement of the McNichols Faculty Assembly was adopted on June 4, 2020.
The McNichols Faculty Assembly, the representative body of the McNichols Campus faculty, uplifts George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Steven Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all other black and brown lives lost to police violence. The racist history that motivated their deaths must be confronted, and the dehumanization and devaluation of black and brown bodies and lives in this country must end.
Black students, faculty and staff are directly impacted by these events. Many members of our University community are overwhelmed with fear, anger and grief.
As a University community in the Mercy and Jesuit traditions, we must bring ourselves to recognize the sacred value of all humanity. George Floyd was a father; Breonna Taylor wanted to become a nurse; Tony McDade’s nickname was Tony the Tiger; Ahmaud Arbery was a fitness buff; Steven Taylor loved making people laugh. It is also imperative that we reflect on our personal and communal responsibility for the sin of racism, which St. John Paul II called one of the most “persistent and destructive evils” of our nation. For members of the Detroit Mercy community who are white, we encourage reflecting on the actions or inactions that have contributed to the perpetuation of white supremacy. Reflection must also include the ways the University has participated in racist ideologies or structures as an institution. We expect our University leadership to investigate and pursue active steps necessary to promote conditions of justice and equity at University of Detroit Mercy and within our broader community.
To paraphrase Ibram X. Kendi, there is no such thing as “not being a racist”; inaction supports racism. Being an antiracist requires actions that raise the voices of black and brown people to build an equitable and just society.
Join us in solidarity as we condemn the violence and brutality perpetrated against black and brown community members. Please consider acting now by speaking up if you witness overt or subtle acts of racial discrimination on our campus; mobilizing for voting rights and voter turnout; joining and supporting organizations led by black people, indigenous people and people of color; and educating yourself and others, including our students, about the history and impact of systemic racism in our country.
With hope and respect,
The McNichols Faculty Assembly