AACC Director: Our Unity is Transformational
We are in the midst of a historical moment that has exposed the structures of racism at the heart of American society. If the coronavirus was not enough to reveal in such heartbreaking detail the deadly consequences of decades, centuries, of economic, political, and social injustice endured by people of African descent in America, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have pushed into even starker relief, the deadly violence that goes hand in hand with the criminalization of black bodies and black communities throughout the country.
The African American Cultural Center is a gathering place for the safe, creative, and critical exploration and celebration of black life, culture, and history. In this moment of profound pain and frustration and anger, the Center is open, albeit virtually, as a place for all members of the UIC community, but especially our students, to raise our voices in support of black lives and in support of each other, and in search of something like a solution to the injustice that circumscribes our lives.
I am so proud of the strong and focused young people that have been using their voices in the streets of Chicago, on television, on the radio, and on social media, and in cities and towns throughout the country. Together, they are pushing the nation into a confrontation with itself – the past and present realities of systemic racism and disregard for black life. I have faith and hope that all of us together can raise our voices in powerful protest and as necessary witness to the unnecessary loss of black lives in the United States – at the hands of a broken criminal justice system, and at the hands of an unequal healthcare system that has left tens of thousands of black and brown people vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus. (Cont.)
The African American Cultural Center is working with other units at UIC, including the Office of Diversity, to develop responses to this historic moment. We will work together to provide our students a space to share their concerns and to strategize about how to build a future in which systemic violence is not only challenged, but defeated.
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