Dear Black Students at UNCG,
By now, you have probably heard the announcement about Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician who served on the front lines during COVID, and whether or not there will be accountability for her death. For many, especially the Black Community, today’s decision did not come as a surprise, but no matter how prepared we are, that does not make the profound grief we feel any less real. While I have only been with the university since March, serving as the Associate Director of the Campus Violence Response Center, I have grown a fast connection and loyalty to the UNCG community. I hope that all those who experience violence have the tools and support they need to navigate trauma and succeed as a student.
As a black woman, It pains me to know that violence against black and brown bodies is so normalized that we can feel guilty for demanding justice. It is not lost on me or any of the brilliant staff at the CVRC that when black and brown students live in a society that continually requires them to prove their worth, ask that their accomplishments be valued, and plead that their life matters too, it takes a toll on your academic pursuits. Living in constant threat is a trauma response.
Anti-blackness manifests itself in many ways, but we have not penned this piece to highlight those truths. Instead, we simply want to say we are here and to remind you that you are worthy. You are more than any stereotype and statistic. You are first-generation students making changes that will ripple the economics for generations that you will never get to meet. You are career students pursuing your 2nd advanced degree. You are queer and living in your truth in ways that you never dreamed of before campus life. You are so many other things. You are seen. If you find yourself in need a place to process your grief, you are invited to join our support group:
Break Every Chain
A collective space for Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) survivors of racism and oppression to process and share their stories. This group aims to provide space for community gathering, increasing our knowledge, and identify ways to help manage these stressors. Sign up here!
As a center committed to anti-violence work, we understand that a world free of violence must include racial equity. We want to express our solidarity to all those who feel unseen and undervalued today. We join a long list of organizations locally and nationally committed to keeping anti-racism efforts central to our work in outreach, programming, and advocacy and ourselves. We invite all of the UNCG family to continue the necessary work to educate ourselves through personal and group education on the various forms of oppression. To that end, the UNC system is conducting a brief survey about race and equity initiatives. Please consider adding your voice to that discussion by completing the survey.
In light and Service,
Charnessa Ridley, She/Her
Campus Violence Response Center