Black Lives Matter: A statement from the Chair on our commitment to racial justice

A Statement from Lisa M. Fine, Chair, Department of History, MSU

The Department of History at Michigan State University stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all those who work for social justice.  We are outraged by the recent murders of George Perry Floyd Jr., Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and condemn these recent expressions of police violence and harassment committed against African Americans.  We denounce the systemic racism and acts of violence perpetrated by state and non-state actors against African Americans throughout U.S. history in all forms.  As historians, we know that these are manifestations of hundreds of years of oppression and exclusion.  We recognize that we are at a moment of increased attention to long-standing, unaddressed racial violence, injustice, and systemic inequality in the United States. There is great pain and anger about these conditions and a desire for change.  We share those feelings.  Many of us have dedicated our professional lives to shining light on inequality and troubling episodes of our past; we now renew our commitment to using this knowledge and our voices to contribute to the process of creating a just nation.   We offer our insights and knowledge to anyone working to dismantle systems of injustice and racial inequality, and in service of remembering and addressing those who have been victimized by them.

In our scholarship, teaching, and service, the Department of History seeks to create and disseminate historical knowledge in pursuit of truth and social justice.  In our collective day-to-day activities as a department and as individual members of our regional, national, and global communities, we are dedicated to values of inclusiveness, fairness, and equity. We seek to make our department, by example and actions, a productive and nurturing intellectual community.  We acknowledge that inequality and injustice are present in all aspects of our world, including our profession. This statement expresses our commitment to address and improve these conditions in academia and beyond through on-going self-study and praxis.