Dear Colleagues and Students in the Doctoral Studies Program at CSU,
As the Director of Doctoral Studies, I stand in solidarity with all who are and have been working toward racial justice in protest of the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, following the murders of countless other Black and Brown people. Community activists, scholars, and people of Color have told the stories of injustice and racial disparities that exist in the criminal justice system, in education, in healthcare, in business, in wealth, and in so many other arenas in the United States. We know that these injustices and disparities exist because of systemic racism and the long history of racial injustice, White supremacy, xenophobia, and genocide in this country. I acknowledge that the work I am doing and the life I have lived has been done on land that originally belonged to Indigenous people. The history of Indigenous people in this area is one of settlement, resettlement, and displacement. During and following this displacement, the United States economy with its great wealth was built with the labor of Black people who were enslaved and as a result of laws, policies, and practices that systematically oppressed Black people, Indigenous people, Asian people, and Latinx people over centuries, and that continue to this day. I am heartbroken for and angry about the countless lives lost to police brutality and hate crimes. These continued killings are senseless, enraging, tragic, and traumatic, most especially for the victims’ families, friends, and communities, and for people and communities of Color. We are witnessing a broadening of the understanding of this trauma by more White people who are standing in solidarity with communities of Color. There is so much work to be done, even with the vast foundational racial justice work that already exists. I am committing myself to continue this work and hope that all who are in our community will do the same. This work is ongoing. I pledge to further reflect on my own racial identity development, continuing to read and listen to anti-racist thought leaders, talking to and listening to others, working on anti-racist projects, decolonizing curriculum/syllabi/lesson plans, advocating for change by writing to legislators and elected officials, protesting, and sharing resources. I am heartened to be part of a doctoral program in Urban Education which focuses on racial justice, as well as by the energy of the protests and the hope that the future can be different from the present.
Julia C. Phillips, Director of Doctoral Studiesd