To the ASCA Community,
In the midst of a global pandemic, which is already impacting Black and Brown people at disproportionately higher rates, our country is now forced to continue to deal with the systemic racial injustices that plague the lives of Black bodies.
August 2019 marked 400 years since the first slave ship landed on the shores of this country. Since that time, Black bodies have been viewed as property, fighting for their very existence to be seen as human beings and equal to their White counterparts. Even after being freed, Black bodies were still lynched through the era of Jim Crow, utilized illegally as test subjects in the Tuskegee experiment, denied equal education opportunities, and fought against laws that would not permit them to own property or build their own generational wealth - a right that should have been provided to them as the wealth generated by their free labor built the very country that denied their existence.
This was demonstrated with the act of terrorism that occurred on May 31, 1921, when our country attacked the Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During these riots, Black businesses were burned to the ground and Black bodies killed in the streets. Again on May 25, 2020 George Floyd was murdered in the streets by police in Minneapolis. In the weeks leading up to George Floyd’s death, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade were also killed by police and Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by two White men. During this past weekend, 99 years after the Greenwood massacre, our country witnessed another injustice as protestors took to the streets in solidarity for Black bodies who were slain in the streets. David McAtee was killed by police in Louisville while participating in one of these protests. As a nation, we have to now forcefully begin to look inward at what equity and inclusion represents within the fabric that weaves our nation’s flag and binds us as a country.
As an association we want to acknowledge the hurt, anger, trauma, and frustration that our Black communities are enduring. As a professional community, we will continue to hold space for meaningful dialogue and healing. As leaders within the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA) we must and will continue the fight for equity and inclusion within our profession and on our own campuses. As humans, we all have a part in changing this world for the better to ensure the next generation does not experience these same injustices. We must advocate for the dismantling of systemic racism and oppressive policies and procedures that disproportionately impact Black bodies. We must not be afraid to speak up against acts of bigotry in our communities, and on our campuses. We have to challenge leaders to continue to develop spaces for the work of equity and inclusion.
ASCA is committed to continuing to provide resources and tools to help our members further their own work related to race and equity. In addition to the resources we’ve listed below, here are some upcoming opportunities:
- The Equity and Inclusion Committee will be hosting a town hall to provide a healing space for our members on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm ET (5:00 CT/4:00 MT/3:00 PT/12:00 HT). Click here to Register.
- Alexandra Hughes will be presenting a webinar, “Systematic Racism...Is My Office a Contributor?” on June 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm ET (2 CT/1 MT/12 PT/9 HT). Click here to Register. The webinar is free for members, though registration is required.
- ASCA will be hosting a book club on Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist. Please keep an eye on the ASCA website and your e-mail for more details. More details about the book can be found on the author’s website: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist-1
Additionally, we encourage you to connect with campus partners to support your colleagues who have been directly impacted and to assist Black and African American identifying students during this time:
- Partner with your campus safety department to help students understand their rights, should they choose to engage in protest.
- Connect with your counseling services to promote the services they provide for students experiencing individual and collective trauma.
- Help your student groups connect to community organizations that support racial justice.
- Reach out to your Black and Affrican American identifying colleagues. Although you may not know what to say, acknowledge them, allow them to tell you what they need, be supportive, and most importantly, own your own bias and commit to doing your own anti-racist work. Use the resources provided and actively engage in awareness opportunities.
Lastly, as many of you know, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASCA had planned to hold our Donald D. Gehring Academy in downtown Minneapolis in July. We also have a contract with the venue through 2022. ASCA is committed to the safety of all members, and as such, we are revisiting the terms of the negotiated contract and are exploring ramifications for termination of that contract.
The ASCA Board of Directors
The Board of Directors wishes to thank Dr. Kyle Williams, chair of ASCA’s
Equity and Inclusion Committee
for his assistance with this statement and in gathering resources.