Open letter to Lawrence University students of color

Dear Lawrence University students of color,

 

We are your faculty and staff of color. We exist alongside you on this campus and in the Appleton community. We interact with you inside and outside of the classroom, on athletic fields and recital halls, and in various leadership roles. We see you enriching our campus with your perspectives and experiences, and we know that Lawrence would not be the institution that it is today without you. Unfortunately, we also notice as you struggle with the unfair burden of racism and discrimination, how it saps away at your energy and the essence of your being, while you still maintain academic expectations and excellence.

It breaks our hearts.

Many of us, too, know all too painfully where you are right now. Our empathy comes from a place of deep knowing and understanding. Many of us have experienced those same feelings of hurt, anger, rejection and confusion. We walk alongside you in this journey, knowing that there are some things from which we cannot protect you. Nevertheless, you awe and inspire us to keep working for change. We learn from you as much, if not more, than you learn from us.

We understand. We thank you.

You have gone far above and beyond your responsibility to show and teach this campus about racism, discrimination and prejudice. You have protested, organized forums, shared personal stories and stood up to injustice courageously. Your voices, words and tears permeate this campus like the light from a lighthouse bringing attention to a shipwreck. A shipwreck that has been left to rot for centuries.

Light. More Light.

We stand with you in solidarity. Our hearts and thoughts are with you always. We will continue to work alongside you in this journey. We will keep working for change within our departments and offices, in our classrooms and staff meetings, and in the very culture and environment of this institution. This hope for justice and equity is our fight too! Change is agonizingly slow, painful and complex. Change may feel small, even non-existent, but there are glimmers of hope, and we shall overcome someday.

Keep fighting. Keep hoping. We are here with you. We got you. We love you.

 

**********

 

Carla Daughtry, associate professor of anthropology

Jose Encarnacion, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies

Kadihjia Kelly, staff counselor

Fanny Lau ’14, assistant director of alumni and constituency engagement

Thomas Lee ’14, Conservatory admissions counselor

Brigetta Miller ’89, associate professor of music

Pa Lee Moua, assistant dean of students for multicultural affairs

Amy Ongiri, Jill Beck director of film studies and associate professor of film studies

Najma Osman, admissions counselor

Mike Pope ’12, assistant director of alumni and constituency engagement

Rosa Tapia, associate professor of Spanish

Kia Thao, coordinator of pre-professional advising & major fellowships

Lifongo Vetinde, associate professor of French

Paris Wicker ’08, associate dean of students for campus programs

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