I am writing today in the wake of the decision regarding the killing of Breonna Taylor to acknowledge the pain, the anger, and the injustice of it all. And this latest tragedy is not just of today but of generations and generations, so that when we grieve, the hole is deep and wide. This most recent instance of structural injustice underscores the tremendous racial inequity in our society. So many of us have the privilege of going to bed at night without having to worry about no-knock warrants being executed in our neighborhoods and in our homes. That privilege is a luxury that Breonna Taylor and Kenneth Walker did not have.
Public grieving is important. Public grieving allows us to draw strength from our collective pain and outrage to not harden to the way the world is. It propels us to speak their names—Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and many more whose names we know and whose names we do not know—all killed by the insidious pandemic of anti-Black racism in America. Black women in particular, have given and continue to give our country so much. For their selfless contributions to be met with racism and a denial of dignity is outrageous and heartbreaking.
We must be resilient but let us not conflate resilience with social denial. The research demonstrating the deleterious effects of everyday discrimination is robust and shows that racial fatigue—from constant fear, anxiety, and anger due to racism—leads to premature morbidity and mortality for people of color, and it is dehumanizing to us all. Let us be steadfast in our commitment to ending racism in our society.
As the pain and anger persist, we can provide each other support. A gathering space is being offered by the ALANA Center, Transitions Program, RSLCP, Residence Education, and the Counseling Service tonight at 6pm. The Zoom information for tonight's gathering can be found below.
Meeting ID: 985 9193 8652
Please note that at this gathering we will be focusing on the voices and reflections of people of color, especially Black students, although all are welcome. Additionally, the Vassar Intergroup Dialogue Collective is organizing a 6-week co-curricular series that is focused on race. It will run on Zoom on Thursdays from October 29 to December 10 from 5–7pm. If you are interested, learn more about the Intergroup Dialogue Collective. As always, please reach out to Dean Alamo, Dean Hoynes, or me if we can be helpful.
Elizabeth H. Bradley, President
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604