Members of the Rutgers community have come together to call for change as protests against police violence and racism sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody continue nationwide.
We have gathered some of the words that our students, faculty, administrators and coaches have shared on social media expressing how events of the last several days have touched their lives.
The Scarlet Knights football team released a black and white video of team members expressing "pain, sorrow, fear and anger'' in response to events. The video was produced after the program created a 20-person committee that includes players, coaches and other staff members to address their response, the New York Post reports. The program also started a social media hashtag #Chop4Change as a long-term commitment to social justice:
Rutgers Law School shared a quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“A riot is the language of the unheard,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. May we one day have justice so that we can have peace.— Rutgers Law ⚖️ (@RutgersLaw) June 3, 2020
The Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University-Newark shared the words of its namesake, Rutgers' celebrated alumnus and civil rights pioneer.
To the activists in the streets & those organizing from their homes for the Movement for Black Life: we hear you, we see you, and we are with you. https://t.co/jJUUFcntmc #paulrobeson #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/MOG0RZBesr— PaulRobesonGalleries (@PRGalleries) June 2, 2020
Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, called racism and discrimination a public health crisis:
?Let. Us. Be. Clear: Racism & all forms of discrimination are #PublicHealth crises that fuel health disparities and violence in Black and Brown communities. We are committed to addressing these structural inequities through research, education & community engagement @RutgersSPH. pic.twitter.com/zLzVzdQNp2— Rutgers SPH (@RutgersSPH) May 30, 2020
Salamishah Tillet, a Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing at Rutgers-Newark, shared book recommendations on race in America.
Good afternoon, good people. I'm still trying to find the right words so I can rise to the moment that we are in, long been in, and are trying so desperately to change. Here are few books to add to your reading list today. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/GNqb54YmbL— Salamishah Tillet (@salamishah) June 1, 2020
Rutgers men's basketball rising senior Geo Baker also shared his thoughts on Twitter:
Fr. i feel like every black man was taught by their parents how to react the right way to police. Do exactly as they say. Yes sir no sir. And then with all these daily videos, i don’t think it even matters. When are police going to be taught to react to a black man the right way? https://t.co/cOWRiMaQ6S— Geo Baker (@Geo_Baker_1) May 29, 2020
Faculty, staff and graduate students at Rutgers-Camden signed a letter seeking change to address systemic racism.
More than 100 faculty, staff, and graduate students have signed on to this statement, authored by my colleague Keith Green. More signatures are coming in every minute. Rutgers-Camden is signaling its commitment to its students and its community.https://t.co/WN4mPmHs1W— James Brown (@jamesjbrownjr) June 2, 2020
The Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers-New Brunswick also quotes Robeson – “The answer to injustice is not to silence the critic, but to end the injustice” – and suggests ways to take action.
The School of Communication and Information's Diversity Committee also issued a statement: "We stand hand in hand to bring a better future for Black and Brown people in America and for our country. We are honored to renew our commitment to this work."
Salvador Mena, vice chancellor for student affairs at Rutgers-New Brunswick, wrote in a letter to the community, "As Scarlet Knights, our commitment to our values of inclusion, equity, and respect for all human dignity reminds us that we have both a collective and individual responsibility to each other in responding to these injustices and that it is more important now than ever before for each of us to engage with one another in meaningful ways. I hope you will do your part, as I will do mine, in reaching out to one another, checking in, and lending support."
President Robert Barchi extends a message to the Rutgers alumni community regarding racial injustice:
@RutgersU President Robert Barchi extends a message to the Rutgers alumni community regarding racial injustice and the social unrest we are experiencing throughout the country. https://t.co/Glt0c6EnoX pic.twitter.com/z30TJVJ6FW— Rutgers Alumni (@rutgersalumni) June 1, 2020
Women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer issued a statement calling for national unity to bring about change:
Chancellors across Rutgers shared messages with the community.
"We must not let ourselves become immune to the injustice we witnessed this week or come to the point when we let these acts of violence go unacknowledged,'' wrote Rutgers-New Brunswick chancellor Christopher Molloy and Brian L. Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.
"While we may be separated from Minnesota geographically, this incident of violence touches us all and underscores the fundamental importance of the Rutgers’ vision for a world where we are all treated fairly and justly."— Rutgers University–New Brunswick (@RutgersNB) June 1, 2020
Read the Chancellor's message: https://t.co/6Nx2ZXaU7r pic.twitter.com/aoTIswcTk0
"We cannot turn a blind eye when our fellow Americans are denied those basic rights. As an academic community, it is incumbent for us to seek to understand and address the root causes of our prejudices," wrote Rutgers-Camden chancellor Phoebe A. Haddon.
"There can be no equivocation on this matter: We value the humanity of every individual from every background. Our country is based on the core principle that all people are created equal, and that our nation is indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." (1/4)— Rutgers–Camden (@Rutgers_Camden) June 1, 2020
"I want to say it will change—because it has to change—and I want to say that I truly believe that our Rutgers-Newark collective makes change happen—working, as scholars, staff and students, collaborators in community, interns for justice, families in Newark, to grow a new system of equity,'' wrote Rutgers-Newark chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Student groups at Rutgers-Camden took to Twitter to voice support for the black community.
Rutgers men's basketball' s Ron Harper Jr. called for unity in the fight against racism.
In a video message, Umme Salim-Beasley, head coach of Rutgers gymnastics, says senseless violence must end.
Let’s make our voices heard! pic.twitter.com/M3EGU0MiXy— Umme Salim-Beasley (@ubeasley1) June 3, 2020
Patrick Hobbs, director of University Athletics, also called for change in a message to student-athletes, coaches and staff.
''I can’t pretend to fully appreciate the weight and pain our students of color feel because of these events. Nor do I have any ready answers. But I know I speak for everyone in our department when I say we must do our part to bend the arc toward justice and equality,'' Hobbs wrote.