Two weeks ago today, the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer mobilized activists across the world. Some of these activists have spent decades working to dismantle racist systems, and some are just awakening to the cause, but all are saying enough is enough. After the many recorded instances of police brutality we've witnessed since Rodney King - and all the unrecorded instances before and since - attempts at meaningful police reform across the US have failed. And yet, in the past two weeks here in Minneapolis, we've seen the University of Minnesota, the public school district, and the parks department cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, and just yesterday the city council pledged to disband the MPD and move toward a community-led public safety model. The magnitude of those changes in such a short amount of time (after such a long time) is something amazing. This is a watershed moment.
What does this mean for us as academics, and for our network? How can we leverage the expertise and power of our connections to spotlight the legacies of systemic racism in our institutions and advocate for transformational reforms?
The BTA network exists to share resources and enact change. Read below for thoughts from BTA Director Bonnie Keeler on how our network can engage in conversations about transformation beyond our original three themes. We will be using this and future newsletters to share resources to combat bias and promote anti-racist institutions. For starters, see templates from Rachel Cargle on holding employers accountable to racial justice. The academic institution example is focused on holding faculty accountable - the door is open to develop one targeting upper admin. Has someone already done this at your university? Do you have a different example of a university or department enacting meaningful change? Tell us about it here so we can amplify your action across the network. Thank you!