Kent School Black Lives Matter Endorsement
Faculty and staff from across the University of Louisville signed a letter supporting the Kent School of Social Work endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement that was presented to President Neville Pinto and Provost Dale Billingsley on December 20, 2016. The Kent School faculty statement linked the goals of their profession to promote “social justice and social change in pursuit of enhanced well-being for all members of society” with the disproportionate racial impacts within our criminal justice system.” The Kent School statement reminded us that we cannot “ignore the deaths of unarmed African American men across the country, parishioners attending bible study in Charleston, members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando, and police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. As a society we must stand together to stop incidents fueled by racial hatred and oppression.” Along with the position statement the Kent School has a Black Lives Matter Banner hung on the outside of their building.
The letter of support for our Kent School colleagues was signed by 171 staff and faculty, including the staff of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice and acknowledged the University’s responsibility to make our campus and wider community as safe and free of threat as possible to our students, staff and faculty of color, who are and have throughout U.S. history been subject to disproportionate levels of violence at the hands of those authorized to protect. A copy of the letter can be found here. The University Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE) also endorsed the letter. Provost Billingsley responded on January 9, 2017 to Cate Fosl, director of the Anne Braden Institute and Enid Trucios-Haynes, Interim Director of the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, who organized this effort. Provost Billingsley thanked the group for “tackling this difficult issue in a constructive, positive manner” on behalf of himself and President Pinto. A copy of the Provost’s letter can be found here.