The Movement for Black Lives has taught us that another world is possible. What we are seeing in 2020 is but one wave of a movement that gained traction in 2013 when three black queer women, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza, created and circulated #BlackLivesMatter in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. These women showed us that digital activism is an effective strategy for challenging white supremacy, but only when coupled with direct action. In the ubiquity of “Black Lives Matters” signs, streets, and hashtags, and the unprecedented numbers of protesters showing up across the globe, particularly in the middle of a pandemic, we are witnessing a cultural shift. And yet, it is not necessarily a structural one. For this reason, it is urgent that we center efforts to divest from the police and re-allocate monies to education, housing, medical care, and mental health services.
The struggle for racial justice is intersectional. The Movement understands that gender justice, LGBTQ justice, disability justice, indigenous peoples’ protection of land, immigrant justice, the abolishment of carceral systems, climate justice, and wealth redistribution are central to protecting and uplifting Black life. We also draw inspiration from the 2015 Black Liberation Collective that demanded accountability from the University for cognitive justice in the curriculum and the classroom, significant expansion of equity in admissions and hiring, financial aid and student debt forgiveness, internal reallocation of resources to support the flourishing of Black and minoritized students at Tufts, and investment in underserved communities beyond Tufts’ walls.
Transformation is underway. Since May 2020, police that have murdered Black people have been fired, city budgets have been re-allocated, investigations into the murder of Black people by police have been re-opened, schools have cut ties with police, racist employees have lost their jobs, and statues commemorating racism and colonialism have been removed. The Movement has taught us that another world is possible if we can imagine it.
We are a collective of faculty curating a digital platform, community conversations, and collective vision for a more just institution. We recognize that Tufts University does disproportionate harm to Black people and other racialized members of our community. We see the need to name and analyze this systemic hazard, and then to envision together the remedies and repairs for our future. Taking our lead from the Movement for Black Lives, we believe Another Tufts Is Possible. We invite all members of the Tufts community, across all schools and campuses, to collectively imagine a Tufts for Black Lives. All submissions will be read and highlights will be published on the website and social media platforms in an effort to build a collaborative vision.