The brutal murder of George Floyd by the police and the echo of so many others in our state and nation, compel us to confront our society’s history of racial discrimination and inequity. We must not let this time of crisis go to waste. We must turn our sorrow and anger into collective introspection and action.
As we are well aware, Minnesota has one of the worst records on racial inequalities in education and opportunity in the U.S. As an academic department at a majority-white institution in Minnesota, we recognize that this is a time to reflect on our own history, our role in these systems, and how we have benefited from them. We also recognize that this time may be especially difficult for Black students, faculty, and staff, and other people of color in our ICD community.
As contributors to the field of developmental psychology, the Institute of Child Development‘s research has uncovered time and again how economic and educational inequalities negatively impact the development of children. We also have identified what’s needed to help children be resilient when faced with overwhelming stress and trauma. This work can serve as a guide to some of what we must accomplish in order to create a more just and equitable society.
We recognize the activism already being done by so many in our department, the university, and our Twin Cities communities. As our communities seek to uproot our racial prejudices and biases and lay bare the systems that deny justice and equality to people of color, we pledge to increase our capacity for high-quality culturally-informed research, as well as for research and outreach with Black and other communities of color.
We also pledge to amplify our partnerships with communities working for equity and justice. We pledge to seek to make our faculty, staff, and students representative of the people of Minnesota. We pledge to examine our own professional and personal biases and behaviors to stem the tide of racism. We will hold ourselves accountable to our local communities of color and continuously reflect on our practices and engagement.
As a first step, next week, we will be holding a listening session to reflect on this moment, discuss how we can support one another, and define the actions we will take as a department.
We pledge not to waste this crisis. Black lives matter.