June 3, 2020
Dear Alumnae and Friends,
Enough is enough.
We at the AADC look at the events of the past week with despair, disgust and dismay. The unjustified and dehumanized murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer who kneeled on his neck – for more than eight minutes – until the breath of life ceased in his body and he lost consciousness is just the latest illustration of the blunt and overt racism and exclusion suffered by Black people in this country.
Unfortunately, this nightmare is not new. Rather, it is a repetitive, vicious, inhuman cycle of violence against Black Americans. They have endured centuries of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, segregation, mass incarceration, and repeated police brutality.
Too many Black people have died, too many are denied opportunities available to their white counterparts. Too many Black mothers and fathers worry each and every day when their child(ren) leave their homes. No one should have to worry if their child will return home alive.
We mourn for George Floyd and for his family and the other families who lost loved ones to the cruel, pervasive and intentional racism in this country. We also mourn the senseless killings of Black women that are often overshadowed, such as Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, and Rekia Boyd.
We decry the loss of life and violence in the streets as people express their frustration with the deadly effects of systemic racism and centuries of having their rights denied and their views ignored. We need intelligent dialogue and solutions to address racism at all levels, against all people.
Change is long overdue, equality for Black people is long overdue, and respect for Black people is way overdue. America must wake up and recognize that there are two Americas, one for white people and one for Black and Brown people.
Black people must have the opportunity in our society to excel, to inspire, to motivate, to create, to inform, and to achieve like all Americans – without exception.
At the AADC, our hearts are broken but our minds are open. The AADC is a place where there is zero tolerance for racism and discrimination, a place where diversity, inclusion and equity are a driving part of our core values.
The AADC is committed to support and uphold our Black Alumnae as well as to create platforms and sacred spaces to have the needed dialogue to educate, create awareness, expose barriers, implement change and lead through our actions and deeds. Our work began last year when we launched the first workshop of the AADC Excellence in Inclusion and Equity Initiative, thanks to a gift from alumna Dr. Debra Perez ’84, Sr. VP of Organizational Culture, Inclusion and Equity, at Simmons University. This is intended to be a series of conversations on the topic of Excellence in Inclusion and Equity.
Our AADC Black Alumnae Network hosts the Jewel Plummer Cobb Sisterhood Conference that focuses on issues of Black Women and her community. We intend to expand and enrich our offerings to open up the dialogue to address these issues within our community of Douglass alumnae and friends.
The responsibility for the eradication of racism lies with each of us.
There is much work to be done and it will take everyone to look at themselves and face the truth. What role are you playing in the problem or the solution? We must really be ready to listen, to grow, to advocate for change.
Every alumna is asked to promote change
in your homes, places of work, places of worship, with your families and friends.
Demand more from those in authority and politicians and VOTE for change.
Speak up and speak out against social injustices. Have the difficult conversations.
Examine your biases, assumptions and behaviors.
We are better together, and we will move forward together to create an organization and nation where all people are truly equal regardless of the color of their skin.
It is up to us.
Executive Committee of the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College
Helen Galt ‘69, Acting President
Jeanne M. Fox ’75, VP Administration
Linda Caldwell Epps ’73, Ph.D., VP Development
Karen Lynch ’79, VP Alumnae Relations
Tina B. Gordon ’72 VP Marketing & Communications
Stephanie Cayne ’89, Ed. D., Secretary
Jennifer C. Bender ’93, Treasurer
Valerie L. Anderson ’81, MBA, Executive Director