June 2, 2020
Dear IGR Family,
It has been seven days since four police officers in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd, an unarmed black man in broad daylight. In the last week, we have witnessed a global uprising coalesce in response to this extrajudicial murder of yet another innocent Black man in our country’s 400-year history of murdering Black folks. We have watched as our president has instigated increasing bellicosity and has threatened what amounts to martial law in response to the uprising. And we have witnessed all this while living through a pandemic of generational and global impact that has also disproportionately impacted some in our country more than others, particularly people of color and low-income folks.
We, here at IGR are heartbroken and enraged over the events of the past week. For some of us, George Floyd’s murder in the hands of those who are supposed to protect us is an old – and personal – story. For all of us, it marks a new opportunity to recommit to the work we do every day – combatting racism and other oppressions in all forms. We are grateful that we work with such a committed group of folks and we are grateful for the students and educators we serve and learn from. This is not a sprint or marathon, but a relay race, and we see ourselves as one leg of that relay, passing on to our collective future a few techniques to make our world more just.
IGR stands in solidarity with the Black community as they face anti-Blackness and killings/murder of unarmed black people at the hands of police and ordinary citizens emboldened by white supremacy. These forms of racism: microaggressions, implicit bias, overt aggression, and violence have a negative impact on our minoritized student body and staff of color. Among the many things that IGR staff are engaged in to counter the violence against Black folks, IGR is sharing a new resource for those considering applying dialogic techniques on campus and beyond to address social identity conflict. We offer 11 Insight Handouts for dialogic practice (also accessible on our website). Topics range from Learning to Listen, Interrupting Bias, to How to Apologize as facilitation skills, and many more useful tools.
We also want to share the following links to support those who are looking for ways to respond to the explosion of conflict in our country.
As we venture forward in these uncertain times, we take courage from those upon whose shoulders we stand. In 1857 Frederick Douglas said “if there is no struggle, there is no progress,” and while we are dejected to find ourselves 163 years later still in the struggle, we believe, as Martin Luther King said, “the arc of the moral university is long but it bends toward justice.” We take heart in seeing that the discourse is changing and we have hope that from the ashes of this uprising, a new, more just world and equitable society will arise. We hope you will find a way to positively contribute to this effort and use your dialogue skills to work with others for systemic change.
In peace and solidarity,
Monita and Donna