George Floyd was tragically and senselessly murdered on May 25, when a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee into Floyd’s neck, suffocating him for almost nine minutes. Floyd’s death is not an anomaly; he is but the most recent example of a long list of Black Americans who have died unjustly at the hands of the police. The brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and countless others only call attention to what has always been true: Racial discrimination and injustice have been evident in our country since before its founding.
The Collegian stands in solidarity with protestors, activists and community members who are taking to the streets to declare that Black lives matter, call for police reform and fight against institutional racism.
We have a responsibility to demand justice. Black lives matter, but just saying so is no longer enough. We must also use our privilege and resources to educate ourselves, contribute to worthy causes and actively root out racism in our community. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” It is impossible to overstate the necessity and gravity of this work; our Black friends and community members should not be responsible for doing it alone.
We must also work to keep ourselves and each other accountable. We recognize the Collegian still has a ways to go; it is easy to send out an affirming message, but more difficult — and necessary — to make tangible change from within. We have previously failed in cultivating a diverse staff of writers and editors. It is now our duty as the executive staff to take measurable steps to remedy this, and strive to have our team represent the communities and people we seek to keep informed. While we, the executive staff, can’t possibly comprehend the Black experience at Kenyon or in Knox County, we must devote our time, energy and resources towards uplifting and elevating Black voices and working with Black students and Black-led organizations to report stories and narratives that matter to them.
We implore you, our readers, to hold us accountable to these pledges, and we promise to update you on our progress throughout the year.
As a start, we want to invite letters or opinions pieces from Black community members who would like to share their personal experiences with the Black Lives Matter movement, at the protests or about being Black either on and off the Hill. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. or email@example.com.
Mae Hunt ’21 Editor-in-Chief
Evey Weisblat ’21 Editor-in-Chief
Elizabeth Stanley ’21 Executive Director
Jackson Wald ’22 Managing Editor