Juneteenth 2020





On The Matter of Black Lives

To the Friends and Partners of the Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness, and Social Action;
Today we celebrate Juneteenth!! On this day, June 19th, we celebrate a freedom that was hard earned and overdue. On this day, we are moved to honor and rejoice in the beauty, wisdom, compassion, resilience and contributions of Black Americans. This day also compels us to think critically and examine the shameful history and legacy of slavery, how that history leads us to where we are today and, most importantly, how we can be accountable to our role in that history.
On this historic day we proudly stand as part of a nation that demands justice for the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, we are reminded that justice for Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and countless others has not been met. The team of the Mulvaney Center come to this work with different experiences and perspectives but are unified in the promise of our Center’s core mission of “learning in partnership with the community, to make life-long commitments to promote social change and justice.” We are part of a university committed to “confronting humanity’s urgent challenges,” and we are part of a community that believes in the promise of higher education. With that foundation, the Mulvaney Center proudly asserts that we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement that demands justice and add our voice of protest against any and all systems of oppression. 
We heed the words of Bree Newsome: “The reality that to be strong in the face of oppression is not the same as overcoming oppression, that endurance is not the same as transformation.” We recognize that a strong statement is insufficient and commit to being held accountable to practicing community engagement in ways that are anti-racist and oriented towards justice.
We recognize that we have a crucial role to play in acknowledging and teaching the historical legacy of slavery and unseating an established system of white supremacy. As James Baldwin writes, “The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.” Baldwin’s words and the perpetual systemic acts of injustice against Black Americans prompts deliberate action to ensure that our students are critically engaging with the community in ways that honor, value, and legitimize the beauty and wisdom of communities of color and to challenge our students to fully understand the legacy of slavery, segregation, and oppression in this country and beyond. Systemic racism is real. As part of our continued commitment to communities of color, we will continue to educate ourselves and our students so that we may better support and accompany community partners in our shared work towards justice.
We believe, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” In this spirit, the Mulvaney Center’s values and work are as important as ever and will continue with a deep conviction that any individual’s freedom is bound to that of the Black community.