To the students of Boston College,
As an anti-racist organization, we, the members of FACES Council, feel as though it is our absolute responsibility to provide commentary on the acts of murder committed against people of color by law enforcement this week and against police officers Thursday night.
In the last few days, we have witnessed the loss of three Black men at the hands of our country’s law enforcement. This injustice, which is neither foreign nor new, continues to terrorize the Black community. It is evident that some police officers across the United States patrol streets with a racial bias that balks at the presumed innocence and due process all Americans should expect from those who have sworn to protect and serve them.
First and foremost, we express our condolences to the families of Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile. To rise in solidarity with the families as well as members of the communities, it is essential that all people educate themselves on the prevalence of racial violence in American history as well as how a system of institutional racism was designed to politically, socially, and economically subdue the African-American population in the United States. These acts of racial violence are not isolated incidents, but just two of the endless manifestations of racism at an institutional level. In the face of such grave systematic injustice, it is important to raise the voices of the oppressed, to listen and become educated about these systems of oppression, and to refuse to remain silent on these issues.
We also want to acknowledge the recent shooting in Dallas, where the lives of five police officers were taken. While this is a tragedy, it in no way takes away from the wrongful deaths of Small, Sterling, and Castile or reconciles the systemic racial injustices witnessed across the United States. Rather, it serves as a reminder that this is an issue for everyone.
There seems to be a notion that if you support Black Lives Matter, you are implying that other lives do not matter. In reality, it is not contradictory to be against both police brutality and the shooting of police officers. Respect for the life, dignity, and rights of a human being should be absolute. Solidarity should not be exclusive. We must recognize our shared and distinct experiences, engage in the alleviation of suffering, and pursue the objective of creating a more just existence for all. Our thoughts are with all of those who have lost loved ones.
This week’s tragedies once again remind us that racism is deeply engraved in our society, and cannot be isolated or separated from any community. As an anti-racist organization, we find it essential that everyone engage in open, compassionate, and uncomfortable conversations about the state of race in the United States. As a resource of support, education, and advocacy, we welcome all students at Boston College to engage our organization with any questions or concerns that they may have. If any student feels hopeless, helpless, or alone and in need of someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Brian Kouassi, MCAS ’17
Nicholas Reed, MCAS ’17
Rafael Torres, MCAS ’18