The NKU Department of English seeks to encourage students to become critical, creative thinkers and intentional, effective communicators by acknowledging that language and texts play a crucial role in the construction of identities, communities, and cultures. Our discipline requires that we engage openly with questions of power and difference through teaching, scholarship, and service.
The United States is systemically racist. At the same time, there are peak moments in our nation’s history when citizens successfully organize for racial justice, shine a light on ongoing White supremacist violence, provide effective alternatives, and prove that another world is possible.
We are heartened by the international protests against systemic racism and anti-Black violence that have occurred during the summer of 2020. In the wake of recent extrajudicial killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, David McAtee, Elijah McClain, and countless others, as well as the unjustified near-fatal shooting of Jacob Blake, mass multiracial street protests have consolidated amidst a global pandemic, declaring the necessity of wiping out White supremacy in all its forms.
All over the world, people are confronting the established social order to redirect public conversation and social policy toward the creation of a more racially just and equitable society. Activists are effectively organizing to promote inspirational and realistic alternatives to the deeply entrenched norms of mass incarceration based on state-sanctioned violence and punishment.
We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and all nonviolent protesters taking to the streets of Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, and across the nation and globe to work towards the abolition of White supremacy through anti-racist actions. At this crucial moment, we reaffirm our department’s continuing commitment to social justice in American society and anti-racism in our classrooms.
As a predominantly White department at a predominantly White institution, we welcome input from our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) faculty, staff, and students in our efforts to institutionalize anti-racist practices and promote racial justice through our teaching, research, and active citizenship on campus, in the greater Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati region, and across encounters with the broader public. We are committed to joining together to demand that Black Lives Matter as we seek to create deep, lasting, and meaningful change.
In order to demonstrate our solidarity with BIPOC students at NKU, the English Department commits to the following actions:
1. Practice anti-racist teaching throughout our curriculum.
2. Encourage our majors, minors, and graduate students to take part in departmental and university efforts to promote anti-racist practices.
3. Represent, where appropriate, works by BIPOC authors in our syllabi.
4. Support academic, personal, career, and financial needs of BIPOC students through mentorship and connecting them to resources.
5. Recruit, mentor, and actively support BIPOC students, faculty, and staff.
6. Use our expertise as scholars and writers in English Studies to promote and participate in anti-racist activities within the department, college, university, and community.
7. Recognize anti-racism efforts as a part of our faculty performance.
8. Support a new NKU general education requirement centered on promoting anti-racist practices and social justice.
9. Propose a departmental micro-credential in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
10. Create and fund a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to help support these and other efforts.