Department of Sociology and Anthropology Pledge of Commitment to Black lives and Racial Justice

We, in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, share this statement to affirm, unequivocally, that Black lives matter. The horrible events leading up to, and, including the deaths of George Floyd and many other Black men, women, girls and boys at the hands of law enforcement and legal officials are unacceptable acts committed in the communities they were sworn to protect. It is out of these abominable and repellent acts that we commit to bringing light to the hidden social barriers of justice and the institutional discrimination faced by Black, brown and poor communities of our nation.

Sociology departments in the U.S. and throughout the world have systematically studied structural racism to uncover the mechanism and processes that maintain racial hierarchies in a given society. In the United States, Black bodies have been enslaved bodies. The struggle for freedom is ongoing and we commit to a pedagogy, praxis and scholarship that exudes our shared value of social justice, as one that is rooted in a moral solidarity. No one is free when all are not free.

Our training is directed at an acute awareness of this social problem, and our shared commitment is to do more than “talk” about diversity, equity and inclusion, but to make meaningful change to break the cycle of racist oppression. We believe we are not alone in our commitment to create an equitable community here at Stetson and in the broader society. To do this, we must all admit that we have habits and biases that must end. We must break our silence and actively fight against anti-blackness and racial oppression in all its forms.

The Sociology and Anthropology Department commits to creating an environment where Black faculty, staff and most importantly, students feel valued, welcome and included. We commit to offer shelter and solace to those who are persecuted and injured for their race, ethnicity or nationality. We invite you to see us as a resource.

In our local and national community, we stand in solidarity with those who defend their civil liberties in protest. We stand in solidarity with law enforcement who work tirelessly to implement effective strategies to prevent deaths in police custody, eradicate anti-Black and racist policies and practices, and equitably serve the communities they are entrusted to protect.

Our stance for equality and freedom extends to our Latinx students who have recently raised their voices in two student forums, “Let’s Talk Racism” and “Let’s Talk Action,” by asking for recognition of their struggles. We stand in solidarity with you.

Our support for Black lives in no way diminishes our stance against other forms of oppression that exist in our society. Rather, we take this moment to acknowledge the horrors that Black people in America are faced with right now and stand in solidarity with those who are fighting for their equality, freedom and justice.

We join the many departments, schools, colleges, universities and individuals who seek immediate change on issues of racial justice and oppression. We hold ourselves accountable and ask that you do the same, as we work to heal and strengthen our community.

In closing, we commit to working not solely as allies, but as accomplices, in disrupting systems of racial injustice and oppression in our local, national and international community. As accomplices, we pledge:

  • To use our privilege to take risks to stand against anti-Blackness and antiracism
  • To be brave by standing in our truth
  • To speak out against inequality and injustice
  • To educate others in our community at every opportunity
  • To move out of our comfort zone by engaging with scholarship, ideas and people advocating for Black lives and antiracism
  • To include Black scholars and articles about Black lives in our classroom discussions
  • To teach empirically based research on Black lives and systemic racism with a specific emphasis on policing, health, sports, education and employment
  • To lead at least 2 campus-wide discussions on Black lives and systemic racism this academic year
  • To work with our community partners in collaboration to educate and reform policies and practices related to anti-Blackness and systemic racism
  • To partner with other departments and programs on our campus to inform and address the structural causes of anti-Blackness and racial injustice in striving for equity
  • To learn about police accountability in the DeLand community
  • To admit fault when we mess up AND atone for those wrongs.

Signed in Solidarity:

Sven Smith, PhD, JD,
Associate Professor of Sociology

Sharmaine Jackson, PhD, JD
Assistant Professor of Sociology

Rachel Core, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology

Diane Everett, PhD
Professor of Sociology
Department Chair

Zenta Gomez Auyong, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Ana Servigna, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Dillon Caldwell, MA
Adjunct Professor of Sociology

Iliana Villegas, PhD
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology

Dilia Rodriguez
Administrative Support
Department of Sociology and Anthropology