Justice for Breonna Taylor
[Statement Made: Sept 25, 2020]
Greetings Patriot Family,
196 days ago, on March 13, 2020, our national and global community, learned of the murder of Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Kentucky native serving the community as a first responder; her life was snatched away in a “botched police raid”. Months passed before any internal investigation of wrongdoing by the officers involved was completed, or job sanctions enacted. Continual injustice unfolded upon our nation as we heard on September 23, that only one of the three police officers involved in her murder was indicted on a lesser charge of putting other surrounding lives in danger and not for the life that they extinguished without cause.
This week, the system chose to look the other way. But we will not!
University Life’s Office for Coalition Building and Diversity Education (CBDE) and Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE) at George Mason University, contends acts of social injustices through police involved violence must be called out as destructive, and bear the consequences of that destruction in our courts of law. We acknowledge these acts of injustice are emblematic of systemic racism that has existed for generations. These are deep-rooted national issues; We know that these realities affect our campus community, as well.
We recognized that the outcome of the indictment in Breonna Taylor’s murder is disappointing and some you may be experiencing a range of emotions. We encourage you to center your mental and spiritual well-being in this moment and seek assistance, if needed. Students we encourage you to connect with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) if you need someone to speak and process your thoughts.
Together, we will #SayHerName and acknowledge that Breonna Taylor’s life matters and the other lives of those who identify as Black and have been unjustly taken matter. We are also committed to you, your well-being, and the mission to actively address racism and anti-blackness through collaborative efforts and activism. In the coming days, our units will work with others to address the well-being of our students and campus community as we work through the range of emotions that we may be experiencing during this time.
This moment – and others — will continue to impact us months from now, and we challenge our campus community to confront bias, prejudice, discrimination, racism and other forms of systematic injustices in your world and area of influence, e.g., Facebook, chatrooms, Instagram, classrooms, departments, and in your local community. It is important above all things to acknowledge one another and take action when needed; there is no liberation without accountability! There is no liberation without collective community care.
If we all dedicate ourselves to the principles of truth, racial healing and transformation, we can collectively bring about the necessary changes in thinking and behavior that will propel our country forward as a unified force where racial biases and violent police interaction will become a distant voice in the past.
Van Bailey, EdD (he/they).,
Assistant Dean/Director| Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment
Hamal D. Strayhorn, M.Div (he/him/his).,
Director | Coalition Building and Diversity Education