Statement of Solidarity

Dear Students and Friends of the Department of Religion,

We are in the midst of two major epidemics, racism and Covid-19, which have disproportionately dehumanized and demoralized Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples as well as other communities of color. Last week, the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 100,000, shedding light on the profound structural and specifically racialized inequalities that have unduly marked many Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples as "essential" and yet expendable. A reflection of the legacy of white supremacy and slavery that continues to plague this nation, in our nation’s efforts towards economic recovery, it is the lives, health, and wellbeing of Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples that continue to unjustly function as sacrificial mules – not unlike enslaved African forebearers – on whose backs the U.S. economy continues to be built and sustained. While Covid-19 has largely been acknowledged as an epidemic (and even a racialized pandemic by some), the longstanding impact of anti-Blackness in this country largely remains underacknowledged. Yet, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd in recent months expose – yet again – the longstanding anti-Blackness, systemic injustices, and violence frequently inflicted on Black people by the police and others in the United States. Like the officers who stood by as Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, white people and their allies who continue to kneel on the necks of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people by ignoring, denying, and refusing to check their own performance of white privilege (including, actively weaponizing the police in order to flex that privilege), are aiding and abetting in the murder and genocide of communities of color.

The Department of Religion acknowledges that structural inequalities, racism, and specifically anti-Blackness are present on our campus and in our intellectual communities. We stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens demanding redress for systemic repression and racial injustice, and condemn military action against peaceful protest. We reiterate, in unequivocal terms, our firm rejection of all forms of racism and commit ourselves, as scholars and educators, to engaging critically, courageously, and imaginatively in struggles for equity and justice in our classrooms, on the Tufts campus, in our academic communities, and in our society.

In solidarity,
Heather Curtis, Department Chair, Associate Professor
Jennifer Eyl, Assistant Professor
Ken Garden, Associate Professor
Jamie Gorman, Staff Assistant
Brian Hatcher, Professor, Packard Chair of Theology
Elana Jefferson-Tatum, Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor
Elizabeth Lemons, Senior Lecturer
Craig Tichelkamp, Lecturer
Joseph Walser, Associate Professor
Lynn Wiles, Department Administrator