The life of George Floyd matters. The lives of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the hundreds that came before them matter. Black lives matter. Violence perpetrated against the Black community by police, those in authority, or others is unacceptable. Black lives matter to their families, their communities, and the nation. We at the Student Counseling Center are deeply saddened and angry. We are critically examining the ways that we can improve ourselves and work to dismantle institutional racism.
The staff at the Student Counseling Center acknowledge that we too often have been quiet around “political” issues in our attempts to ensure that every UT student feels welcome within our center. However, our silence has made us complicit with racism and other forms of bias that harm our most vulnerable students. As a staff we are having difficult conversations and exploring our explicit and implicit contributions to systemic racism in our community; like many groups, we are also engaging in deepening our education and training. We commit to demonstrating more clearly our role as active opponents to racism. Racism is not just a political issue; it’s a human issue that is a personal affront to human dignity and contrary to our most cherished values. It is imperative that we speak up and assert this commitment to be allies with Black students, faculty, and staff.
Please join us in reading and engaging with resources developed and shared by colleagues from around the country to support the mental health of Black students and to promote allyship and antiracism efforts. Being an ally is an active, daily engagement. We will oppose racism in all forms and strengthen our allyship with the Black community at the University of Tennessee. Racial trauma is real and we are here for you. We stand with you. We support you.