Vigil for Black and Brown Lives

Monday, November 9, 2020

I want to begin by acknowledging the Wappingers Peoples, the Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican, the Delaware Lenape Tribe, and the Delaware Nation—Indigenous peoples and their descendants who are still here, on whose land we gratefully gather. When we convene as a community, we come together respectfully—mindful of the traditional and present custodianship of this place and our responsibilities to that.

We are here to gather in solidarity to honor Black and Brown lives in this most perilous time, I am so thankful to the students and others who organized this vigil.

I am moved by the tremendous beauty and power of this gathering, knowing the path has been treacherous and the future is unclear. But our call—as human beings, as a college community, as this college community—is to do better.

What if we lived together in profound recognition that we are mutually dependent, with intertwined destinies in the work of understanding and repairing the influences of racism and white privilege in our world together?

What if we committed to continually inviting expression of the knowledge, wisdom, and sources of wealth among Black and Brown lives and to standing with Black and Brown peoples against the violence of structural racism and cultural practices that privilege whiteness?

What a beautiful and powerful set of people we would be—living in fullness, understanding the value of our collective humanity, and being vigilant in our honoring of Black and Brown lives in every breath we take.

May our time together open a door to new understanding, to new expression, and to a new day of hope.

—Elizabeth H. Bradley, President, Vassar College