To the Student Body of Vanderbilt University,
On behalf of the Vanderbilt Student Government, we want to echo and stand with the messages that Black and cultural organizations have shared. We are outraged and deeply saddened by the recent spotlight on painful and unjust deaths from these last few weeks. The murders of so many black men and women, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, have served as reminders of the rampant racism in our country that has proved over and over again that all lives are not regarded as equal.
We want you to know that we stand in solidarity with all of you who are fighting for justice in a time where the world seems to be burning down around us, and we ask that you take action where you can. There is no one person, one email, or one organization that will solve the deep-rooted, systemic injustices that have plagued our country for centuries. However, there is unspeakable power in joining the masses who are working to demand justice for these recent deaths; to be silent is to side with the oppressor. Talk about what’s happening with your friends and your parents, advocate for justice, and most importantly educate yourselves. Remember, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Events like these are not just a moment but a movement. A movement towards justice and a movement towards peace.
We urge you to use the methods below to help make change:
- Sign a petition.
- Text FLOYD to 55156 to demand that all officers involved in Floyd’s death are charged with his murder.
- Text ENOUGH to 55156 to demand justice for Breonna Taylor.
- Text JUSTICE to 55156 and 668366 to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery.
- Sign this petition to demand a ban on law enforcement officials who have committed racially motivated acts of violence in the past to never hold a job in law enforcement again.
- More petitions to sign can be found here.
- Make a Phone Call
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey: 612-673-2100
- Minneapolis District Attorney Mike Freeman: 612-348-5550
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison: 651-296-3353
- Governor Tim Walz: 651-201-3400
- Minneapolis Police Internal Affairs: (612) 673-3074
- Send an Email
- More opportunities to call or email with attached scripts can be found here.
- Resources to educate yourself on how to be a better ally and learn about the history of what is happening can be found here.
- If you choose to protest, make sure you know your rights and how to safely be a part of that change. That information can be found here.
In the end, remember to take care of yourselves through this, as floods of news and information can exhaust you both mentally and physically. Remember that it is okay to disconnect from social media when needed. It is okay to ask for help right now. Whether through a friend, the Center for Student Wellbeing, the University Counseling Center, or the Black Cultural Center, please talk to someone when you need it. You are not alone. We, as representatives of the Vanderbilt community, want to do nothing but uplift black voices. We will be meeting with the Vanderbilt administration to work towards promoting cultural and racial sensitivity on campus. If you all have any suggestions on how we can be a better ally for the community right now, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for you today and everyday.
Student Body President
Student Body Vice President
Chief of Staff
Speaker of the Senate