Monday, June 22, 2020
We, the Board of Loyola’s History Graduate Student Association, condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer and grieve alongside Floyd’s family, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the nation for his death and the deaths of countless others. This pain is not new; it is centuries-old and insidious, weaving itself into the fabric of our society. Many groups have spoken out more eloquently and more poignantly than us, yet as historians we feel a particular call to add our voices to the nationwide – and international – outcry.
We recognize the systemic targeting of the black community that dates back to the very foundation of our country. It is our duty as historians to provide context and interpretation of our past so we can better understand our present and change our future. For decades, some members of our profession have manipulated and misrepresented history in order to reinforce and justify white supremacy. As the next generation of historians, we must dedicate ourselves to recognizing, confronting, and challenging the version of history they left us with and the deeply flawed system that narrative has enabled to thrive.
To jumpstart crucial, long-overdue conversations about race in history, Loyola’s HGSA Board of 2020-21 is starting an antiracism initiative. In the coming days, we will be rolling out resources to spark learning, thought, and conversation about race in America. We do not know where this will end up, but we hope it will grow into a valuable project for starting difficult conversations and guiding our individual and collective paths to confronting racism. If you are interested in helping with this project, feel free to contact Rachel Madden (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erin Witt (email@example.com).
We also urge you to read the statement by the Loyola Black Graduate Student Alliance (BGSA) on recent events and consider their concrete goals for Loyola to better support Black / African-American grad students, found here. In their words, “we look to the University to truly take on the work needed to acknowledge, address, and dismantle unjust structures evident even within our own classrooms.” The HGSA Board stands with them on their demands for measurable change on campus.
Words on a page and conversation should only be the beginning – change requires a call to action. If you are able, we encourage you to consider donating money, time, or other forms of support to organizations that work to counteract the deep roots and pervasive effects of racial discrimination in our country. The following are a few of the many organizations doing the vital work needed to effect lasting change:
In solidarity with our neighbors, we also urge you to consider supporting local black-owned businesses. Below are a few options:
- Semicolon (Chicago, IL) – The only black women owned bookstore in Chicago: (and their digital storefront: https://libro.fm/explore?bookstore=semicolon)
- Black-Owned Businesses in Rogers Park
- A national list of Black-Owned bookstores
This conversation is just beginning. While the process of pulling back the curtain of our assumptions and accepted narratives can be painful, it is necessary if we are to understand how we got here and at what cost. This process is a lifelong commitment, one that demands honesty, humility, and open mindedness from all of us. Feelings of pain, frustration, anger, confusion, and guilt are normal and expected. Listen to those feelings, recognize your privilege in your ability to even have them, acknowledge them, and turn them into action. Only with that understanding can we begin the work of creating a truly equitable and just society.
The Loyola History Graduate Student Association Boards, 2020-21 and 2019-20
President Scarlett Andes, MA Public History
Vice President Rachel Madden, PhD Public History & American History
Treasurer Casey Terry, MA Public History
Secretary Miranda Ridener, MA Public History
Media Coordinator Ve’Amber Miller, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Erin Witt, Dual MLIS/MA Public History
Public History Chair Elizabeth Schmidt, MA Public History
President Anthony Stamilio, MA Public History
Vice President Emily-Paige Taylor, PhD U.S. Public History & American History
Treasurer Hannah Overstreet, MA Public History
Secretary Davis Stubblefield, MA History
Media Coordinator Alicia Ziemat, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Cate LiaBraaten, PhD Public History & American History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Sophia Croll, PhD Public History & American History