Below is a letter written to the faculty and staff of my nursing program
Dear faculty and staff. I want to thank you all for the efforts you have made to push us through this semester. As I attempt to study for my last final, I can’t help but to be encompassed by the current state of the world. I am unfortunately no longer referencing the corona virus, but rather racism and police brutality. I am one of the few black students in our program, and while I excellently endure the stressors of both nursing school and living while black, I feel conflicted in enduring the stressor of your silence. As a black woman, but more so as a black immigrant, I have learned very quickly how to navigate and conduct myself in white spaces. One of the lessons I’ve picked up on is that the majority tends to align themselves with the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King. In his honor and in his name, I ask where you would have stood during the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60's? I pose that question not to attack, but rather to prompt the question of where you stand during these civil rights movements of 2020?
I have entertained the idea that you may want to shy away from this for fear of it being political. For that possibility I rebut and ask, what is political about speaking up for human life? Unless that discomfort only brews when speaking up for black life. Our nursing program prides itself on being a family. It is a message I have heard since my mandatory orientation. If that message is true, then I ask my family to publicly speak out and condemn the militant and racist police practices that have led to the most recent death of George Floyd. The United States has a painfully long history of systematic oppression and police brutality unleashed on minority communities. It is this type of oppression that makes women like Amy Cooper feel comfortable enough to make false claims against Christian Cooper. Fortunately, Christian Cooper is alive thanks to the power of technology and social media. Emmett Till is not. It is a linked history and one can no longer stay silent and claim naïveté. The reality is too pervasive, and muteness cannot be interpreted as unknowing.
My Fall 2020 cohort is phenotypically comprised of mainly white students. Using that and the faces of past graduating classes hung up in the computer room, I would venture to say the whole program is currently comprised of mainly white students. Regardless, I feel confident that you all see me as a valid member of our community. And so, though I have learned how to conduct myself in white spaces, I have also learned from America that my “conduct” does not protect me from the very real possibility of injustice and/or death. With that, I ask you to use your voices now to speak up and not in the unfortunate circumstance that #justiceforomono becomes a trending hashtag.
Thank you all for allowing me the space to feel comfortable enough to bring this up in, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter
With the support of redacted names for privacy
I encourage all of you to start using your voice. And not just black people, ALL people. I will no longer be silent for fear of repercussions. I will no longer let fear dictate my conduct. My reach may be small, but it extends past me. I will no longer fold my arms in an attempt to blend in, I will extend my arms out to you until you feel my pain. I am no longer afraid. You are either with us, or against us. #prosecutekillercops #defundpolice