Violence against our Black relatives must stop. Recent events have exposed the centuries’ old wounds of racial division and oppression in the United States, and revisit a painful and unjust past upon our present: it must stop.
Alaska Pacific University, as an institution founded on the bedrock concept of racial equity, affirmatively supports our Black students, faculty, and staff. But our calling is bigger than our direct community and includes members of our larger community, state and nation.
I am sick and tired of having conversations with our children about the extra measures that some of them must take because our world is not always a safe place for them. Our Black relatives should not bear the weight of fighting for justice, ending systemic racism, and addressing a sad national legacy of anti-blackness alone. It is not their obligation to do so, it is all of ours.
In pursuit of racial equity for all, Alaska Pacific University commits to ensuring that equity, justice, and anti-racism, are critical components in our efforts to create a safe, inclusive learning environment on campus and in the world around us. Our university recognizes the necessity of explicitly supporting our Black relatives in a country and world too comfortable with their death and dispossession. We will do this in solidarity and alliance as an Indigenous institution welcoming to all. To this end, we have started to line up a series of workshops and other learning activities to help us, as individuals and a community, address issues of racism and privilege. We are also exploring ways to make such training an accessible, ongoing, and integral element of our collective work.
We can each respond to an unjust reality. We are all responsible. It will take each of us – our students, staff, faculty, administration, board, alumni, funders, and community members to lead us into the next level of our growth in this work. This is hard work—it is uncomfortable. And it is the kind of hard work we must do right now. To leave this to our children and future generations is an abdication of our responsibility.
To be clear, we do not just seek the absence of oppression; we seek the presence of justice, equity, love, and vibrant thriving lives for all of our community members, especially our Black relatives. Until the disproportionality is gone, until we have a more just and kind world for our children, our work will not be done.
I invite you to step into your own personal leadership right now (“A leader in every chair”) and let us come together as an APU community to lift up and support our Black relatives who are grieving, and do the work we must do to end this national and human crisis.
To our Black relatives, we see you. We need you. We love you. We will fight to keep you alive.
Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson
Alaska Pacific University