Latin American and Latino Studies Program Statement
We in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at Stetson University condemn the racist, anti-Black violence that has killed George Floyd, Tony McDade, Mike Ramos, Breonna Taylor and so many others at the hands of police officers. We are angered by the many overlapping racisms and types of violence which Black people and all people of color have been and continue experiencing. We declare our solidarity with the ongoing protests, grief, and justified rage against acts of racist brutality. We share this statement to affirm that there are individuals who identify as AfroLatinx, AfroLatino, AfroLatina, AfroLatin American or AfroCaribbean who also experience anti-Black racism.
We affirm: all Black lives matter.
We agree with AfroLatina scholar Dr. Lorgia García Peña at Harvard University when she explained:
“What sustains racism is precisely that it does not reside on individual choice, but rather in a system that undergirds every single one of our institutions. Racism shapes not only individual actions but, more dangerously, collective, civic, governmental, and official responses to everyday life, from traffic violations to college admission to which mothers are cared for during childbirth and which are left to die, to which children are disproportionately disciplined in schools, to which type of hairdo is considered appropriate, to who is perceived as too loud or too angry, to who can run, nap, read, and watch birds in peace. Racism and its father, white supremacy, are rooted and ingrained in the fabric of every aspect of our everyday world. Eradicating it means we need to confront, directly, the structures that sustain each individual and collective racist act.”
It is in this spirit that we pledge to work to reveal, confront and ultimately overcome the legacies of slavery, systemic racism and violence which lie at the root of this crisis. We acknowledge the way the Department of History at the University of Chicago and the Department of Environmental Sciences and Studies at Stetson University approached their Statements, and we echo and expand on them as we pledge to:
- Work to actively create an anti-racist environment that includes human diversity in its myriad forms.
- Affirm the presence and contributions of Black, Brown and otherwise marginalized students in our classes.
- Amplify the voices of Stetson community members who are silenced or otherwise disempowered, and lend our own voices in support when necessary.
- Address instances of injustice or bias in our classes, faculty meetings and in our lives.
- Listen to and validate the stories of those whose lived experiences differ from our own.
- Investigate and uproot our own internalized biases and pedagogical biases (for example, evaluating our syllabi and asking, “whose voices are represented in the readings?”, “whose voices are represented as doing the analyzing and theorizing in the readings?” and “which course policies are inequitable or exclusionary?”)
- Include in our courses reading material that explains anti-Black and anti-Brown racism and brutality, and Black and Brown individual and community agency, creativity and resilience.
- Listen to community members in our community-engaged teaching and research, and reflect if our practices are contributing to or detracting from community empowerment and racial equity, and adjust accordingly.
- Actively support the recruitment, retention and advancement of underrepresented students and faculty in our disciplines.
- Maintain a spirit of cultural and personal humility throughout this entire process – resist defensiveness, remain open to feedback, acknowledge that we can always do better.
- Use Program budgets to support the educational and professional development of economically disadvantaged people of color who are associated with, or who promote the mission of, the Latin American and Latino Studies Program.
We are committed to making concrete changes to promote antiracism and racial justice.
Tony Abbott, Professor of Environmental Science and Studies
Pamela Cappas-Toro, Associate Professor of World Languages and Cultures
Ana Eire, Professor of World Languages & Cultures
Ken McCoy, Professor of Theatre Arts
Nicole Mottier, Associate Professor of History
William Nylen, Professor of Political Science
Robert Sitler, Professor of World Languages and Cultures