Statement on Systemic Racism and Racial Injustice
We, the faculty and staff of The Department of Kinesiology, publicly denounce and take a stand against the structural, institutional, and interpersonal racism that continues to plague our country. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are not merely trends touted by our university, but principles that the members of our diverse department proudly embrace and for which we continue to strive. We mourn the losses of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, O’Shae Terry, Antwon Rose, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Tanisha Anderson, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo and countless others. While some of us may be surprised by the recent murder of George Floyd by four police officers, members of the Black community have experienced the stress and trauma of dealing with similar manifestations of such racism daily.
The Kinesiology Department acknowledges and is committed to the following:
Racism is a public health issue. We share in the outrage and anguish expressed around the United States and across the world in response to the treatment of Black persons by the police. Similar injustices are pervasive in our and other societies, but are not limited to police brutality. The effects of racism permeate many aspects of our lives including, but not limited to, education, housing, and healthcare. These structures contribute to the existence of the health disparities observed in life expectancy, maternal and infant mortality, chronic stress, cancer rates, healthcare access, and the disproportionate burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Black and other minority communities.
Lead as professionals. As kinesiologists and health educators, we believe in the power of movement for improving health and well-being. We believe it is a human right to be able to go jogging without fear of being racially profiled and killed. We are committed to learning how to be anti-racist and to understanding how covert racism, such as microaggressions, implicit biases, “color-blindness,” and denial of such practices, are harmful and often observed in terms of poor physical and mental health. We can, and will, use physical activity and sport to diminish health disparities and promote social change. We will also protect, support, and promote those who call out discrimination and violence towards Black people, other minority groups, and marginalized populations within our society.
Prioritize racial justice and equity in our curriculum. We commit to educating our students about the health disparities stemming from the structures of racism and discrimination permeating our society. It is our commitment to our students to provide them with the education necessary to be the next generation of culturally competent clinicians, educators, researchers, and leaders. This includes examining the roles of racism, power, and privilege in perpetuating health disparities and promoting health and wellness among diverse populations. We hope to play a part in empowering our students to improve society in ways which our generation has been incapable.
To our students, particularly our Black and African American students and alumni, we embrace your talents, your contributions, your ideas, and your experiences. We support you, and we are honored that you are a part of our community. We know that in order for all lives to matter, BLACK LIVES MUST MATTER.
The Department of Kinesiology