This letter was written by the Department of Black Studies in response to an opinion article by students on the college's disability policies published in The Amherst Student on March 8.
We in the Department of Black Studies were moved by Thursday’s walkout and sit-in at Frost Library. Initially an expression of solidarity with students at Missouri, Yale, and elsewhere, it quickly turned into an intense, fiery event, full of compelling stories of struggle, friendship, insistence on belonging, and an overwhelming demand that the institution change. Spoken directly to the Dean of Faculty, those words bore truths that are as old as the presence of students of color on campus and as new as the demands of student life today.
We in the Department of Black Studies were extremely dismayed to learn that posters reading #BlackLivesMatter were torn down or postered over this past weekend. The #BlackLivesMatter campaign is of particular and urgent concern for our fellow humans who suffer disproportionately from police violence, but it should be of concern to any and all who care about racial justice and basic human decency. The disrespect toward this campaign expressed in the tearing down, defacing, or covering of posters sends a terrible message to our community.