Statement on Racial Justice

To the University Community:

Do not look away.

We are all bearing witness—once again—to collective Black pain: the pain of denied dreams, denied opportunities, and denied justice for stolen Black lives. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and too many before them at the hands of police have laid bare wounds unhealed from 400 years of state-sanctioned violence towards Black people in this country. Black and Brown activists have been a constant beacon for the LGBTQ+ community, famously throwing the brick at Stonewall and demanding that the fight for Queer Rights be fully inclusive of Black, Brown, and Trans lives.

But for decades, mainstream LGBTQ+ politics have often abandoned those lives, instead choosing whitewashed advocacy efforts. From over-policed Pride parades to relegating Black and Brown transgender women to the farthest margins of our agendas, we must be honest about how mainstream Queer Rights movements have sought cover from the same racist systems of oppressions that target Black and Brown lives. Queer liberation cannot be achieved in a society where Black lives don’t matter. So, what must we do now?

  • Do not look away from racial injustice.
  • Give space and power to Black and Brown voices.
  • Eliminate rhetoric within your organizations, communities, and personal communications that separates Queer Rights and racial justice.
  • Educate yourself on the demands of national and local racial justice organizations.
  • Identify systems of oppression where you benefit. Join in dismantling those systems.
  • Join efforts to help Black and Brown communities thrive. Fighting for racial justice is essential, but the fight does not stop at ending murder at the hands of police.

Do not be fooled: progress is not expedited when we leave any member of our community behind. As our society continues to enact violence—physical and systemic—against Black bodies, the Queer community cannot be complicit in the familiar face of state-sanctioned neglect.

This time must be different.

The Serpentine Society Board of Directors takes our role in shaping the evolving narrative of LGBTQ+ advocacy seriously. As such, we are committed to engaging in conversations and actions that support Black and Brown lives. Below are some of the resources our Board members have found helpful in their education, reflection, and healing over the past few weeks. The attention demanded through protest by the Black community is long overdue.

We will not look away.

Blake Calhoun
Vice-Chair, Serpentine Society Board
*The entire Serpentine Society Board of Directors firmly endorses this statement.


Suggested Resources

Interactive database pulls city-specific data on 8 policies that when enacted together can decrease police violence by 72 percent.

National Bail Fund Network Directory:
Assists individuals who are eligible for release pretrial but unable to pay bail. Especially salient for current protestors.

10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship:
Helpful tool to evaluate your current ally actions. Advice for showing support on social media, making donations, and sustained involvement in racial equity.

The Devastation of Black Wall Street:
Important history of the deadly destruction of 35 city blocks of Black businesses and homes by white vigilantes in 1921.

What to do Instead of Calling the Police:
Conflict resolution alternatives to involving law enforcement. Offers practical strategies and further reading.

Claire Willett:
Contextualizing protests from white lens; historical significance of FBI counterintelligence use