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Truth is Powerful

When Statements of Solidarity Racelight BIPOC


It’s almost Juneteenth, campuses are getting ready to send statements of solidarity to their communities. But will their messages be uplifting or another mechanism to harm their campus communities? Judge them based on authenticity and action.

After the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, college and university leaders across the nation released statements of solidarity to their respective campus communities. These statements were extended as heartfelt expressions of unity from senior leaders, heralding the institution’s awareness and commitment to diversity.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, campuses released messages highlighting their solidarity with the Black community (e.g., “We stand with the Black community),” noting the institution’s desire to hear from their Black and African American communities (e.g., “We want to listen,” “We are listening”); their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; a hard stance rejecting anti-Black racism; and the institution’s commitment to fostering climates of belonging.

When crafted with authentic intentions and strategic actions, these statements can be powerful affirmations of community. In contrast, inauthentic intentions and the absence of meaningful next steps are “racelighting statements.” These statements do just as much harm to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities as institutions who decide […]

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