The protests that have spread throughout our country over the past two weeks have clearly exposed the rampant police brutality against African Americans and the unequal effects of COVID-19 and unemployment in minority, and especially African American communities. We recognize that the Black Lives Matter movement has called attention to these inequities and has led the way in combating racial injustice. The multiracial coalition that is now embracing the slogan #BlackLivesMatter has pointedly reminded us of the roots of this unacceptable reality: the deep and enduring culture of systemic, institutionalized racism and white supremacy in the United States, with origins that lie in the embrace of slavery and which took shape over generations of systematic segregationist legislation and commonplace practices of bias and exclusion.
We, the faculty of the Ohio State University’s Department of History, categorically condemn the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, who are just three of the many Black Americans who each year die unjustly at the hands of law enforcement and white supremacist vigilantes. We call out the systemic racism and structures of white supremacy that led to their deaths. We stand in solidarity with the protestors in Columbus and throughout the country who have bravely withstood tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and other forms of police repression in order to peacefully demonstrate on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement. We declare our commitment to making our department a safe and welcoming environment for all. We demand concrete measures in our university, city, and state to meaningfully support people of color, reconsider the role of policing in our communities, and begin an immediate dialogue seeking minority input.