Black Lives Matter

Author: Department of English
June 5, 2020

Dear Students,

You have heard from many entities across campus expressing outrage about the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota, following closely after the racially motivated atrocities that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade. The English Department shares in this sense of outrage.

We realize that no amount of #BlackoutTuesday boxes on social media can fully capture the anger, grief, and trauma we are experiencing as a nation right now. We stand in solidarity with our Black students, our Black colleagues, our Black communities in the SF Bay Area, and the Black Lives Matter movement across our country. But we also want to take this opportunity to underscore that any expression of allyship is meaningful only if it leads to productive change, even at the level of our own Department. We therefore pledge to change our courses, our curriculum, and our classrooms (regardless of modality) to address the injustice of this particular moment and of a longer history of racism in this country and in larger global contexts, regardless of program or period. This can mean dedicating class time to discussing all that our nation has just experienced; it can mean selecting texts that speak to the histories of racial injustice; it can mean proposing new courses on race; it can mean facilitating a difficult, but important conversation through the curriculum we offer.

Across our many programs, we are committed to empowering students as writers, educators, and rhetorical actors, knowing that their words can create a better, more just, world.

We know this change will not be reflected in a single semester, but we also know that San Francisco State has a long history of activism and our courageous students have played a pivotal role in the Black Lives Matter movement. It is this spirit of activism and this commitment to social justice that has brought many of us to San Francisco State and we understand that it is our responsibility to uphold that mission in every way possible.

We invite students to join in dialog with us about these issues at department events, in classrooms, in course projects and written submissions, or simply by reaching out to us over email. Your protest stories and your lived experiences are valuable to us. We hope you will share them at every opportunity. Below is a list of resources from our Associated Student Group, along with other helpful links for local organizations and resources in the Bay Area that might be useful during this time.

In solidarity,

The English Department