Those of us at MIT GOV/LAB want to recognize and honor the lives of the many unarmed Black people who have died at the hands of others over time, including:
Ahmaud Arbery of Glynn County, Georgia on February 23
Breonna Taylor of Louisville, Kentucky on March 13
George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25
Tony McDade of Tallahassee, Florida on May 27
We are feeling many different things. We are angry and upset and frustrated. We are frightened and profoundly alarmed by the increasing militarization of police and the democratic erosion, both in this country and also in the many other places where we work around the globe. And in all honesty, it is hard not to feel despair about the anti-Black beliefs and attitudes that continue to be so deeply ingrained in our institutions despite the unceasing efforts of so many for so, so many years.
One thing we are not feeling is surprise. We know that racism and inequality are embedded in all our institutions, and we are aware that MIT GOV/LAB is no exception. We know that many of us enjoy the luxury of not always having to think about our race, or how racism might affect us. We recognize the impact that this invariably has on our under-represented partners, students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. And we know that anti-Black racism, in particular, is a pervasive injustice we need to work harder to address for the benefit of us all.
What really matters of course is not just our feelings but how those feelings galvanize us to more action.
We stand in support with our Black students, colleagues, and partners in the United States and around the world. We are looking inward and questioning ourselves, our assumptions, and our privilege. We are committed to using that privilege to amplify the positions and the voices of those who have long deserved more power and more respect. We will invest more resources and time recruiting, supporting, and lifting up our Black students, colleagues, and partners. As scholars and researchers, we believe deeply that learning never ends. We will do more to educate ourselves and to re-evaluate how we teach our students and how we work with our partners.
We ask everyone in MIT GOV/LAB to work towards the change they want to see in the world. We ask each other to be good listeners, even when we are being told hard truths about ourselves.
Please never hesitate to speak up, call us out, and call us into conversation when we can do better.
We are actively discussing the concrete actions we can take, and we will report on those in the coming days. We invite you to add your name to our commitment.
Professors Daniel Hidalgo, Lily Tsai, Ariel White, Bernardo Zacka
Paige Bollen, Jasmine English, Ying Gao, Matias Giannoni, Selmah Goldberg, Sean Liu, Nina McMurry, Ben Morse, Gabriel Nahmias, Elizabeth Parker-Magyar, Blair Read, Tesalia Rizzo, Leah Rosenzweig, Stuart Russell, Guillermo Toral, Minh Trinh, Nicole Wilson, Alisa Zomer
MIT Community: David Singer, Wenyan Deng, Mark Goldman, Sharon Bort, Eliza Berg, Carlos R. Centeno, Rebecca Obounou