Volume 1, Issue 9: August 27, 2020
R.I.S.E.* Up Newsletter
*Reinforcing Inclusion through Skill-building and Education
Picture of Letetra Wideman - sister of Jacob Blake - with quotation - this has been happening to my family for a long time - longer than I can account for. I'm not sad. I don't want your pity. I want change.

As this newsletter goes to press, we are all watching with horror the unfolding of events in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Lafayette, Louisiana where people are taking to the streets this week to protest two more shootings of Black men by police.

The shootings this week of Trayford Pellerin, who was killed by Lafayette police on Friday, and of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police on Sunday and remains hospitalized, are two more in a long series of incidents that are galvanizing protests around the country. These protests continue to call our communities to account for the violent racial disparities that exist in policing and criminal justice across the nation. In Kenosha, the violence continued Tuesday when a teenager brandishing an AR-15 killed two protestors and wounded a third.

Without weighing in on questions of guilt or suspicion surrounding these incidents, it is clear that violence is being used as a police response when such extreme measures are not justified. Jacob Blake is paralyzed. Trayford Pellerin is dead. And the question still remains -- would things would have unfolded in the same way if they were not Black?

Furthermore, these events have become the latest in a season of unrest that began with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Floyd's death set off a flurry of statements and acknowledgments of pain and wrongdoings, commitments to change, and, if we are being most hopeful, actions that support a true reckoning and soul searching across the country. 

The higher education community is paying attention. While some university communities have seen more student protests in response to the events of this week, other universities are preparing for a 48-hour faculty strike to protest police violence, planned for September. Many professional athletes are taking part in a collective strike as well, bringing several sports leagues to a standstill.

As I reflect on this, I feel a strange combination of relief and devastation - of momentum, yet feeling at a standstill.  Over the past few weeks, I have watched the dialogues and discussion in support of Black lives dissipate, as the country refocuses on other matters: the ongoing crisis of the pandemic, the November election, major scandals and corruption. However, here we are with yet another incident that illustrates the threatening immediacy of police brutality that places the lives of young Black men, in particular, at perilous risk. 

The shooting of Jacob Blake, now viewed on video feeds around the world, re-emphasizes that the movements, the calls for justice, and the conversations for solutions are still at a level of crisis. So this is what puts me in an uncomfortable dual position -- feeling broken-hearted at the continued violence, while also encouraged that these incidents have reinvigorated the demand for justice across our country. It is a situation “at once freshly horrifying and achingly familiar.”

I saw a recent post on social media that resonated with me deeply. It described the experience of being Black as having a good day until you see that another Black person was shot or killed for no valid reason. Then it is a matter of choosing to think about and talk about this reality all day (or for days and weeks), or choosing to not talk about it (so you become numb and unresponsive). It is a constant emotional war. This is another dual space in which I reside as I contemplate how to act constructively, to move forward as an individual, and also to continue our struggle, as a community, for social justice. 

Let’s face it -- this work is hard. And working at the intersection of principles and emotions makes it even harder. Yet, we must persist. Here again, we are faced with another reminder that becomes a window of opportunity. At such a time as this, we must not lay aside our emotional response, but instead use it to push us to stay in the fight. We must look for more opportunities to call explicitly for change, to engage innovative tactics for action, to construct solutions to this injustice.  

Unfortunately -- or fortunately -- we are reminded today that our pursuit for the just and humane treatment of all, and our insistence on examining systemic injustice in our policing as well as all institutional structures, must be handled today -- constantly and consistently. If not, we are just days away from another tragic incident...
and another...
and another.
-- Tiffany Galvin Green, Ph.D.,
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
In Other News
Statement on Social Media Movements for Justice
In recent months, we have been seeing the rise of social media movements that are raising concerns about bias-related incidents in higher education environments, including experiences of microaggressions, discrimination, harassment, and assault.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni at universities across the country, including John Carroll, are sharing experiences and support through Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms. By doing so, they are giving voice to campus climate concerns that impact life for everyone in colleges and universities, particularly marginalized communities. 

Anti-Semitic Graffiti in University Heights
Last month, local news reported that swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti had been discovered spray-painted on the walls of several Jewish-owned businesses and organizations in the neighborhood near JCU. We have recently learned that two young adults and a minor have been charged in this incident.

We are deeply grieved that our neighbors were confronted by such hateful behavior this summer. As a division, we stand in solidarity with them and with all who are targeted by hate, bigotry and bias.

Next Friday, September 4th, Campus Ministry will host a community prayer gathering on the quad at 12:00 noon at the Peace Pole. All are welcome to attend to join in our community's prayer for an end to all forms of division, hatred and oppression.

Division Announcements
Required Syllabus Statements
image of a hand typing on a computer keyboard
Instructors for Fall 2020 Courses are reminded that all university course syllabi are required to include the university syllabus statement alerting students to the process for requesting accessibility accommodations, reporting sexual violence and harassment, and reporting incidents of bias and discrimination. Faculty have the option of either reproducing the statement into their syllabus in full, OR including a brief note referring students to the "Learner Support" tab in Canvas, where these policies are automatically uploaded.
Help Select our Fall Book Reads!
We are working now on identifying the slate of book selections for our R.I.S.E. series faculty-staff book clubs for Fall 2020.

Do you have a title we should consider? Add it to our list for consideration!
stack of books
Online Success Tips Video

JCU instructors and staff have compiled a video with helpful tips and tricks for students starting their classes on Monday. Take a look!
R.I.S.E. Higher: Featured Article of the Week
Anger Can Build a Better World
Myisha Cherry, The Atlantic, August 25, 2020

Racism is alive in our society. It lives in store aisles, discriminatory 911 calls, policing, the racial wealth gap, and asymmetrical government responses to communities afflicted by COVID-19. Through protest, diverse voices are boldly standing up to racial injustice. And they are expressing anger while doing it. This rage is not a distraction, nor is it destructive to American ideals. It is playing a crucial role, politically and morally, in helping us build a better country.

The purpose of rage is not to make white people feel guilty. Rather, it communicates the value of Black lives and egalitarian principles. Anger, in this way, is not antithetical to love. It expresses compassion for the downtrodden and the desire for a better world. Anger at racial injustice makes people eager to do something about it. We cannot suppress anger, nor should we dress it up in the garments of respectability politics.

.... (click below to read more)
Announcements from our network:
Go LIVE for Equity 2.0

The Greater Cleveland YWCA will sponsor a series of free virtualinterviews and discussions with local and national leaders fighting on the front lines for racial equity. The series begins Friday, September 11th at 10:00 am and continues each Friday through October 2. All installments are free and open to the community. 
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