We as the members of the LGBTQ Commission send this message of compassion and solidarity to our Black Clemson University members, friends, and family, as well as the broader Black community. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others have been a painful and searing reminder that racism and anti-Blackness run rampant through our nation and community. So to our Black community members: Our hearts and our energy are with you. We see your pain and your mourning. We know that this violence happens too regularly in this country, and action must be taken to fight against this. We are here for you.

This message is also a message of accountability. Black lives matter, and we as the LGBTQ Commission do not and will not tolerate racism, police brutality, or the countless other examples of direct and indirect harm Black people and other people of color experience in our country. We will not tolerate it in others nor within ourselves.

We recognize that words without action are hollow, and we commit to continuing to better our campus and community both through individual measures and through collaborations with others across our university. We pledge to use our privilege as members of the university community to educate people who do not understand the historical and present day oppression of Black people. We pledge to use our financial privilege as we are able by donating aggressively to causes that strive to dismantle systems of oppression. We pledge to use our privilege as citizens to speak out to our elected officials to demand an end to the unwarranted killing of Black people and to demand that perpetrators of such killings be held accountable for their actions. Through these measures and more, we will work to dismantle racism and anti-Blackness just as we work to dismantle homophobia and transphobia.

The work to dismantle systems of oppression cannot live in one place, and the responsibility cannot be on the shoulders of the oppressed. This call to action is not just for our Commission, but to any non-Black reader. We encourage you to be actively anti-racist in both your private and public life by disavowing and calling out racist speech and action. We encourage you to work towards a truly equitable society through your own actions and through the education of others.

June is national Pride Month, a month that honors LGBTQ+ people. In particular, June recognizes the Stonewall riots and the other forms of LGBTQ+ activism that have taken place throughout United States history to fight for the rights of our community. We acknowledge that the Stonewall uprising was predominantly started by trans and gender-nonconforming women of color, and we pledge to stand with communities of color as their oppression continues today. We acknowledge that this country, like our campus, was largely built by enslaved Black people. And we acknowledge the validity of uprising as a tool of change, as at Stonewall and as at the Boston Tea Party. This month is a reminder for us that there is still work to be done, and that this work must be uplifted by all.


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