In response to police violence against Black and Brown people in our city and nationwide and the recent murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Joel Acevedo, Ahmaud Arbery, and a painfully long list of others, we write in strong solidarity and support for our Black students, staff and faculty; our students, staff, and faculty of color; and the communities we serve.
The loss of these human lives is a continuation of longstanding white supremacist violence against Black people and other racialized groups in our country. In the last few years, we have also seen an increase in anti-immigrant, antisemitic, Islamophobic and anti-Asian racism. These different forms of racism and discrimination are interconnected. If we are to challenge and dismantle them in the service of creating a just and equal society, we have to treat them as part of a larger complex field of systemic racism.
We condemn and speak out against white supremacy. We are committed to anti-racist feminisms and against all forms of oppressions and injustices. In the classroom and in our work, we study the history of racism, state-sanctioned violence and oppression, anti-racist and feminist activism, and intersecting oppressions of race, gender, sexuality and religion, as well as other forms of difference. We encourage diverse classrooms and recognize the importance of the plurality of experiences and perspectives. But, as part of embracing diversity and diverse classrooms we also must recognize that institutionalized racism has influenced all societal institutions—and higher education is no exception; UWM is no exception. Racism and police violence against Black lives and other marginalized people exist here at UWM. We urge our campus leadership to address substantively both the systemic racism and the deep outrage and pain on our campus.
We have reached yet another critical moment when individuals as well as institutions need to take a clear and vocal stance on racial and social justice and insist, again, that Black Lives Matter. Our programs join the protest against anti-Black racist violence and police brutality. As educators, community members, and scholars in the spaces of public education, we commit to the critical work of further fostering inclusive learning and working spaces that support the very contributions and voices of Black, Indigenous and racialized people.
By formal agreement, our campus police force is assisted by and assists the Milwaukee Police Department. We call for an end to this relationship, which historically has resulted in the profiling of UWM students of color. Further, we call on the State of Wisconsin and the federal government to invest in community health and public schools in lieu of the continual funding of policing and incarceration.
We also acknowledge that, as is so often the case, universities may advocate for change and push for it within our institutions and beyond; and we may make space for ongoing learning and discussions of these vital issues; but we are not the leaders of this movement. Within Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Freedom Fund has compiled a list of organizations that are working for change and also both offering support for those who need it and accepting donations from those who can provide them. Please support change and embrace our community as best you can. https://fundrazr.com/mkefreedomfund?ref=ab_7csbeHjjg1a7csbeHjjg1a
Department of French, Italian, and Comparative Literature
MA in Language, Literature & Translation (MALLT)
Translation & Interpreting Studies
Women’s and Gender Studies Faculty and TA Mentor
Anne Dressel, Center for Global Health Equity
Timothy Ehlinger, Wm. Collins Kohler Chair in Systems Change & Peacebuilding
Laura Hermanns, Assistant Director-Center for Global Health Equity; Partnerships Coordinator-Peacebuilding programs
Joanne Lipo Zovic, Faculty Associate in the Masters of Sustainable Peacebuilding Program.
Lynne M. Woehrle, Program Director, Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding and Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies