Statement of Solidarity--From English Department Leadership--5 June 2020

We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives to end the dehumanization of all Black people. We stand in solidarity with other antiracist and anticolonial struggles to counter ongoing legacies of land theft, systemic inequity, and to promote equitable and humane treatment for all people. As our hearts break for the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and too many others, we stand in solidarity with those who protest against racial violence and we re-pledge ourselves to make visible the many ways White supremacy, racism, anti-Blackness, and settler colonialism structure the everyday running of our institutions, lives, and habits of judgment. We recognize the historical and daily toll racism inflicts on all of us, but especially on those who experience it most directly and who often bear the burden of explaining it. As literary and language scholars, teachers, and artists, we respond by re-dedicating our work and teaching to dismantling the structural and pedagogical apparatuses that harm so that we can all strive towards creating core values that sustain Black lives, Indigenous sovereignty, and the lives of all people of color. Our work involves imagining and reimagining ways of knowing and being, and modeling for others how to do that in order to create a more just world. Anti-racism and anti-colonialism must be central to our work. Together, we stand with the many engaged in this struggle.

We commit to:

  • Ask about, listen, and be responsive to the needs of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and those who stand in solidarity with them about what we can do to support them in this moment and beyond. In light of the call to action from the UW Black Student Union, African Student Association, Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, and Solidarity for Black Student Needs Coalition, we urge all instructors to use maximum flexibility in accommodating students’ needs regarding final assignments, examinations, and grades in response to the challenges of this time.
  • Support the Decriminalize UW call to protect Black, Indigenous, and people of color from police violence. 
  • Stage serious, capacious conversations that articulate how a commitment to countering ongoing legacies of systemic inequity transforms our discipline in intellectual and pedagogical contexts, including being self-reflective about the historical and epistemological presumptions about the discipline.
  • Support, consult, and work with programs and groups that are doing active and transformative work (research, teaching, public scholarship and engagement) to counter ongoing legacies of enslavement, land theft, and genocide.
  • Further our commitment to equity and justice through the development of antiracist and anti-colonial pedagogical practices.  

We recognize these commitments are incomplete, and we will work to make them more concrete as we continue conversations in community.

This statement of solidarity is coming from the leadership in the English Department.

In Solidarity,

Anis Bawarshi, Chair
Executive Committee:
Megan Callow
David Crouse
Michelle Liu
Kate Norako
Jesse Oak Taylor
Rae Paris
Program Directors:
Eva Cherniavsky
Colette Moore
Candice Rai
Priti Sandhu
Carrie Matthews, Diversity Committee Chair

UW and Departmental Statements

We recognize Black students have been disproportionately affected by both the racial inequities of COVID-19 and now by the broad social awareness of anti-black policing across the country and here at UW. Our department is committed to providing accommodations, especially to Black graduate and undergraduate students as well as other students directly impacted by the racialized crises of our current moment.

President Ana Mari Cauce: "Lifting the veil: understanding the clarity this moment offers"

Rickey Hall, Wayne Au, and James C. McShay: "Antiracism Work is All Our Work"

Message from CAS Dean Stacey to Faculty: Accommodations in a Time of Crisis

Department of American Ethnic Studies Statement of Solidarity

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Statement of Solidarity

American Indian Studies Statement of Solidarity