Washington, DC—Dear UDC David A. Clarke School of Law Community:
Over the last year and a half we have seen remarkable advocacy on college campuses around the issue of racial injustice. Virtually every college and university has been the site of a Black Lives Matter protest and many have become vibrant centers of activism. Student organizing has forced important change and conversations. Most recently, student protests led to the resignation of the president and provost at the University of Missouri.
We are gratified that the School of Law has been active in the national movement to address racial injustice. We are proud of our students and faculty who have engaged in the fight for equality, many serving as leaders in the movement. We have benefited from critical events on campus including #BlackJuriesMatter, the press event with Jason Goolsby, Bryan Stevenson’s Rauh Lecture and so many other gatherings.
Dr. King taught us the power of love and the need for understanding. As we continue our struggle, we want to support all members of the community to have honest, civil dialogue. We urge everyone in the community to work together to build programs and increase awareness and understanding of these important social issues.
The struggle for justice, however, is never easy. Resistance can be fierce and we cannot understate the effects of the legacy of racism in this country. In recent days, student activists at the University of Missouri and at Howard University have received racially motivated threats. We condemn those responsible for this reprehensible conduct and stand shoulder to shoulder with the student activists on those campuses.
As Dr. King said: "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards Justice." What Dr. King showed us with the way he lived his life is that the arc bends only if we put our hands on it and push with all our might. We also know that this is an important opportunity for learning and growth as an institution, a community and as individuals. The conversation about race is hard and we are often afraid to have it. The risks of misunderstanding, hurt, anger and guilt are very high. But the risk of not having the conversation is even greater.