Editor's Note — In response to recent national events, from the November election to storming of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, the co-leaders of the university's Anti-Racism Journey issued the following statement on Jan. 8. Learn more about the Anti-Racism Journey.
s we, the co-leaders of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Anti-Racism Journey respond to the events at the Capitol this week, we begin in what may be for some an unusual manner, but for us, it is an important way to make clear that our words are heartfelt and grow out of a deeply human place. One of our co-leaders reflected on the moment in this way.
“I am a Nahko (mother) today who is mustering each and every bit of strength inside to care and be there for my sons. I took my baby son to the doctor yesterday for a routine checkup. He turns 12 in 24 days. The nurse checked his blood pressure which is common as we all know. She re-checked it as it seemed high. And, indeed, she told me that my 11-going-on- 12-year-old child has elevated blood pressure. As the nurse left the room to retrieve his doctor, I asked him what is stressing him. He stated quite plainly — the attack on the Capitol. I cannot even begin to muster one human sound to describe the heartbreak, righteous rage, sadness and resolve I experienced in that second of time. I share that to let you know that it isn’t about pity for me as his mom. It is about the future. Our future. The younger ones are watching our democracy right now and I feel quite accountable to them.”
The UNL Anti-Racism Journey co-leaders want to express our deep disquiet and outrage at the events that have unfolded across the country leading up to the November election, its aftermath, and particularly in the nation's capital on Jan. 6. These events remind us that the journey against racism and racial injustice requires continued vigilance, truth-telling and forthrightness given what is at stake here, the very foundation of our democracy. We remain unwavering in our commitment to racial justice and are deeply aware of the long-standing consequences, impact and intense harm that has been and continues to be caused by the lies that uphold white supremacy. We encourage every member of the UNL community to reflect on and recognize their own power and influence in striving for racial justice and take up this pressing responsibility seriously and completely. Furthermore, we hope that the assault upon the sacred space of the United States Capitol building can call forth a deeper understanding of other sacred spaces and communities of persons/groups of color that have histories of disruption and desecration. In other words, attacks upon civil rights and civility in the most elite of spaces and places should create bridges of empathy to the least elite and most vulnerable in our nation.
We believe that even the slightest hint of racism or racial supremacy has no space in the ideological spectrum of a modern democracy that is worthy of that name. We can assure you that as co-leaders we are resolved to move forward from these events to continue fighting the legacies, ongoing effects and structures that uphold white supremacy. We want to co-construct a racially just, robust pluralist democracy, not just for our sake, but for the sake of future generations of Americans.
UNL Anti-Racism Journey Co-Leaders
— Lory J. Dance, associate professor of sociology and ethnic studies
— Kwame Dawes, Chancellor's Professor of English, Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner
— Anna W. Shavers, Cline Williams Professor of Citizenship Law, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, College of Law
— Kara Mitchell Viesca, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education
— Sergio C. Wals, associate professor of political science and ethnic studies
— Colette M. Yellow Robe, retention specialist, TRIO Programs