A Message to the AHEAD Community

By AHEAD posted 06-04-2020 11:07:03 AM


The AHEAD leadership mourns the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. We recognize that while their deaths anger and sadden us all, the cumulative impact of the many losses of Black lives to police brutality and the overt and covert racism take a tremendous emotional toll on our Black colleagues and other colleagues of color. These tragic losses have happened during a time when communities of color are already being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its impact on their physical, social, and emotional well-being. 

We are heartbroken and we extend our heartfelt concern and support to you and to the Black students and staff within your campus communities.

But for those of us who are white, grieving must not be done silently. White supremacy protects and benefits white people, while it simultaneously creates disparities and inequities in every aspect of life for Black and Brown people. For white folks, there is much work to be done to shift the power and privilege imbalance Americans of Color experience. Ignoring or denying that work only further perpetuates systemic racism. Listening patiently and empathetically to those directly affected by these atrocities without defensiveness or centering whiteness can go a long way to help others but we must not stop there. 

It is time for tough conversations with corresponding action. We express our solidarity and reaffirm our commitment to doing the important work of disrupting the systemic racism that is at the root of these horrendous injustices. We challenge all of our members to work collectively within and outside our organization to examine our own racial biases, learn more about the actions that perpetuate racism and oppression, and to become a part of the solution - a more inclusive and equitable society. 

AHEAD, led by the Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Disability Knowledge and Practice Community, will be offering upcoming opportunities for dialogue and learning:

  • Free Webinar: Cultural Humility and Implicit Bias
  • Free Webinar: What Can I Do? Leveraging White Privilege to Disrupt Racism
  • Open Dialogue: An Invitation for Black and African American AHEAD Members to Connect and Initiate Progressively Meaningful Change in their Higher Education and Local Communities

More details about the above opportunities will be forthcoming. Resources on Racial Equity can also be found on the AHEAD website for those looking for ways to learn more.

In addition, the AHEAD Board will begin discussions at this summer’s board meeting about how we can address bias and racism in our organization. We are committed to continuing conversations and action surrounding this topic.

Please take care of yourselves in these trying times. If you have concerns or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to any AHEAD Board Member.