Section: Opinion

Kenyon Black Student Union’s Statement of Solidarity regarding the protestors of George Floyd’s murder

The Kenyon Black Student Union expresses its unequivocal support of those protesting the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police. We also understand that the protests around the country and globe represent the frustration and anger of oppressive systems beyond the Minneapolis Police Force. This is far from the first time we as Black people have seen one of our own lynched in such a grotesque fashion, yet the aftermath remains the same: we are forced to see our names become a hashtag, watch the videos of our deaths descend into spectacle, and witness the acquittal of our murderers. We are expected to bear these violences with a stoicism that is antithetical to the brutality waged on our communities. From Trayvon Martin, to Sandra Bland, to Tony McDade, to George Floyd, to […], we are told to wait for a vague and ever-receding Justice. The protestors in Minneapolis (and cities all across the country) have said in no uncertain terms that they are tired of waiting. A riot is the language of the unheard, and the outrage in response to the recent destruction of property contributes to this disregard. Property can be rebuilt and repaired. Black people cannot be brought back to life. To superficially condemn the means in which Black grief and anger are expressed––rather than the systemic violence and exploitation of Black people that led to these moments––is an admittance that Black lives matter less than property. It is a blatant disregard of the countless attempts to affect change through peaceful and legal means, and to use the false morality of legality to silence grieving protesters is itself violent. We stand in solidarity with those making their voices heard by any means necessary. 

We are aware that what is being protested is not just one lynching in isolation. Beneath every major American city is a history of structural underdevelopment that is only now being fully recognized. Red-lining, restrictive covenants, subprime and predatory lending, suburbanization, urban divestment, over-policing––these are the ingredients that comprise every major American city, and are also the components of the powder keg that has exploded into what we see on the streets of Minneapolis and elsewhere. We are also aware that the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately afflicts and kills Black people, only exacerbated these underlying conditions. Until these structural issues are addressed, until the violence of poverty, police brutality, and anti-Black racism is addressed, there will always be reason for discontent and disobedience. We, as an organization, reject any explanation and analysis that is not rooted in the lived experience of Black people, especially those explanations that are rooted in racism, cultural deficiency, and personal morality, regardless of which side of the partisan divide they come from. 

We extend our hands in solidarity to anyone and everyone sincerely engaged in the struggle for justice and racial equality. We ask that those who have the resources––be it mental, emotional, and/or financial––engage safely and peacefully, whether that means calling your local elected official, donating to the many organizations doing good work on the ground, or marching with others in protest. However, we urge you to remember that the liberation project includes you. It is not possible without you, your joy, and your well-being intact. We are a community, and, as such, we ask that you do not hesitate to reach out to the executive board and your fellow members for moments of care, kindness, and honesty. Beginning this Sunday (6/7), we will be hosting weekly virtual gatherings as a way to decompress. These won’t follow our conventional meeting rules; rather than topic-based meetings, we’ll instead use this time to catch up with one another, play games, watch videos, laugh, and love each other. These are completely optional for everyone involved––whether there are two members or twenty, our goal is community and care. This will be in effect through July.

This struggle doesn’t end now that Derek Chauvin is charged, nor will it end if he is convicted. Our struggle does not rest until the day every Black person can exercise, to their fullest extent, the freedom, liberty, and autonomy of being that has been so brutally denied to us for so long. We applaud any and every effort that brings us closer to liberation. To every Black person within the diaspora––of every gender, sexuality, class, ability, and faith––we love you. We got us, always. 

With Love,

Kenyon BSU Exec

Resources: 

#BlackLivesMatter Resource List

This is a comprehensive list of bail funds, petitions, and educational resources. 

Columbus Bail Fund

The official Columbus legal fund for assisting protestors with bail relief. 

LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund

A national legal fund for assisting incarcerated queer folks. 

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund

A relief fund for assisting queer writers of color, many of whom have lost their primary 

sources of income. 

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? 

Edited by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar, and Alana Yu-lan Price

A free, online educational resource regarding police violence. 

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