CAPS strongly speaks out against racism, prejudice, and hate in all forms because it is ultimately destructive to our individual and collective mental health. This past weekend, several incidents of race-based hate have occurred at the University of Michigan and in Ann Arbor. This mirrors incidents that have recently occurred around our region of Michigan and around the country. On September 17th, racist graffiti was found on a mural in downtown Ann Arbor and the residence hall door name tags of three Black students at the University of Michigan were vandalized with racist language. We recognize that these are just the most recent of a continuing trend of incidents on campuses and in communities across the country, and that the cumulative effect of these events can deeply affect our students, particularly students of color, and in this specific case, African American students.
CAPS is committed to and stands in solidarity with all students, regardless of their race/ethnicity or other social identities. Every student has a right to feel safe on campus and in their place of residence. You are each vital and important members of our campus community. Your presence at the University of Michigan makes our community better, and stronger.
We recognize and acknowledge the frustration and other feelings that exist as a result the continual display of micro/macro-aggressions towards people of color. As we manage the most recent, distressing events, know that there is no “right way” to feel or respond. During times like this, there are multiple ways to seek support and take care of yourselves and each other. These can include connecting with family, friends, spiritual or religious communities, peers, and resources on and off campus. As a reminder, CAPS is a confidential space for students seeking additional support.
We also recognize that those who do not identify as students of color are also affected by these incidents of racism and may be seeking information about how to be effective allies in times like this. Therefore, CAPS will be developing guidelines for those who are interested in providing support as allies.
The Black Student Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held a dialogue and self-care event, DESTRESS, on Tuesday, September 19th, and we in CAPS encourage more of these types of events to support our collective process of standing together, healing, and taking a strong stand against racism.
Additionally, the Black Student Union has posted the following statement:
On September 17th, 2017, three Black University of Michigan students were targeted with racially derogatory language in the form of defaced name tags on their dorm doors. This is not only a crime of vandalism, but also a hate crime carried out by those with access to our campus and residence halls, presumably underclassmen students. As we move into the third week of classes we have already encountered deliberate racism via social media and now directly to students in their campus homes, a space where they should feel safe.
We, The Black Student Union, stand in solidarity with the three Black students who were directly targeted by this heinous offense. As an organization, our mission is to promote the social and spiritual growth and safety of those affected by crimes such as this. We expect an appropriate response from The University, including an investigation and consequences for those involved in the vandalizm. In times like these, it is important that we do not act solely out of the frustration, anger, and sadness we may be feeling. We have to channel these emotions into productive action, in an attempt to leave the campus better than we found it. That being said, the Black Student Union will remain a resource to all Black Students on campus and will always act with the community and not just for the community. We are strategizing ways to move forward and urge everyone to come together right now and, above all else, practice self care.
Peace, Love and Solidarity,
The Black Student Union
University of Michigan- Ann Arbor
Finally, please read a thoughtful piece from one of the targeted students.