Letter from Black UNCG faculty

Posted on July 08, 2020

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July 7, 2020

Dear Black Students at UNC Greensboro, 

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN. A white police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed face down on the street for nearly nine minutes. Onlookers and other police officers watched as he pleaded for his life. His death has spurred an uprising around the world to decry abuses of human rights within the U.S. and other countries, especially police brutality and violence against Black people. UNC Greensboro’s Black faculty are angry, devastated, frustrated, sad, and disgusted. More importantly, we are exasperated and exhausted, as Mr. Floyd is one of the hundreds of Black people killed while in police custody just within the past five years. We acknowledge the Black women and trans people (Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, for instance) who have also been murdered in the last months but whose deaths have not garnered the same kind of attention as these other acts of violence. We are committed to paying attention to ALL Black Lives. And we are motivated to express our denouncement of Anti-Black violence and racism, as well as our continued belief and support of you, the Black students at UNCG.

We write to you all as Black faculty members that feel called to address the utter outrage, grief, and despair that is present in the ongoing police and state violence against Black people. We see you and we are with each and every one of you. The last couple of months have shown us that history works in circular rather than linear fashion and that the time has absolutely run out on narratives of racial progress and multicultural congeniality. We know better than that. We have seen this before. The current racial climate only compounds the effects of a violent pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people. We know that all of you are working hard to just keep going with the political, social, spiritual, physical, mental/psychological/emotional, and existential wars that are being waged against us. We also know that all institutions, including ours, have a role to play in the ongoing work that is racial and social justice. What we offer here is an acknowledgment of the historical and current realities, commitments we make to you as UNCG faculty, and resources and suggestions for how to care for yourselves during this time. 

Whether you are African-American, African, Caribbean, Black, Afro-Latinx, or of partial African descent, we suspect that the current events are uniquely impacting each of you and your families. Whether you have grown up on U.S. soil or are experiencing what you may have seen on TV for the first time, we are here with you. We took the time to carefully collect our thoughts, have meaningful conversations, and make some concrete action plans before we reached out to you all. We recognize that while words are important, they are not enough. As such, we have committed to the following actions and hope you will consider making similar commitments as well:

  • We will continue working to create a safe and inclusive environment for students and faculty of all ethnicities, racial backgrounds, religions, ability status, socioeconomic backgrounds, first-generation status, sexuality, and gender identities. 
  • We will hold UNCG faculty, staff, and students accountable. We will speak up when we witness sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or oppressive language, ideas, or actions. When you report grievances, we will support you through that process. 
  • We will continue to educate ourselves on the history of privilege and oppression within the country, our communities, and academia. We will continue to share anti-racism resources with each other and you. 
  • We remain committed to working with deans, department chairs, and members of our departments to hire and retain more Black faculty.
  • We remain committed to educational access for all students and specifically equity of access for Black students. 

Many of us have also begun to have conversations within our units and departments about the need for training and conversations around mentoring diverse students, supporting a culture of care, awareness of microaggressions and microvalidations, and dismantling systemic racist ideas, procedures, and policies at UNCG. We encourage each of you to engage in intentional practices of caring for yourselves as you also care for family, kinship, and community networks during this time. Beginning with yourselves, this might look like: 

  • Permission: Give yourself permission to not take responsibility to educate others about race, equity, or experiences of oppression related to intersectional identities that you hold. 
  • Process: Find avenues for release and processing difficult emotions like therapeutic practice (see this comprehensive list of Black therapist options). 
  • Unplug: Fasting from social media, news, and the onslaught of information for particular days or periods of time. 
  • Nurture: Go back to the basics of food that fills your soul, movement that gets you back into your body, and resting for the number of hours you need to feel rejuvenated each day. If what you need feels prohibitive (financially or otherwise), pool resources with beloveds to find creative ways to get these needs met. 
  • Affirm: Find ways to affirm your own reality as a Black person – your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This might include the intentional use of helpful social media pages, like @ogorchukwuu on Instagram. 

We are so proud of each of you. We hope you know that UNCG is enriched by your very presence. We see you, your lives matter. Your hopes and dreams matter. Your pursuit of knowledge matters. Your education matters. Your ideas and your voices matter. Your actions and protests matter. Your vote matters. You matter! We are here with you.


Tara T. Green
Linda Carlisle Excellence Professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies
African American and African Diaspora Studies Program

Ayesha S. Boyce
Educational Research Methodology
African American and African Diaspora Studies Program

Daniel Coleman
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Duane Cyrus
School of Dance 

David Aarons
School of Music

Kwasi Amoako-Gyampah
Information Systems & Supply Chain Management

Moses Acquaah

Sandra Ayoo
Educational Research Methodology 

Harriet Bailey
Human Development and Family Studies

Rachel Boit
Human Development and Family Studies

DeAnn Brooks

Shelly Brown-Jeffy

Joi W. Bulls
Human Development and Family Studies

Bridget L. Cheeks (Richardson)
Human Development and Family Studies

Tanya M. Coakley
Social Work

Armondo R. Collins
University Libraries, Digital Media Commons
African American and African Diaspora Studies Program

Jewell Cooper
School of Education

Crystal Dixon
Public Health Education

Omari L. Dyson
Peace & Conflict Studies 

Yarneccia D. Dyson
Social Work
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

Shaqwana Freeman-Green
Specialized Education Services

Torren Gatson

Hewan Girma
African American and African Diaspora Studies

Cerise Glenn Manigault
Communication Studies
African American and African Diaspora Studies

Joseph L. Graves Jr.
African American and African Diaspora Studies Program

Merlyn A. Griffiths
Marketing, Bryan School of Business & Economics

Erin Harrison
Communication Studies
University Speaking Center

Michael Hemphill

Tiffany Henry
University Libraries

Jason Herndon
Psychology Clinic 

Ashley Herring Nicholas

Gerald Holmes
University Libraries

Andrea Hunter
Human Development and Family Studies

Stephanie Irby Coard
Human Development and Family Studies

Channelle D. James
Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality, and Tourism

Connie T. Jones
Department of Counseling and Educational Development

Janine Jones

Tiffanie Lewis-Durham
Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations

Ayalew Ligaba Osena

Michelle Y. Martin Romero
Public Health Education

Nodia C. Mena
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Robert Mayo
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Andrew M. Mbuvi
Religious Studies

Regina McCoy
Public Health Education

Constance L. McKoy
School of Music

Sharon Morrison
Public Health Education

Erica Payton Foh
Public Health Education

Dena Phillips Swanson
Human Development and Family Studies

Hassan Pitts
Media Studies 

Aileen Reid
Educational Research Methodology

April Ruffin-Adams
African American and African Diaspora Studies 

Candie Rumph

Jocelyn R. Smith Lee
Human Development and Family Studies

Thomas Taylor
Miles Davis Jazz Studies
School of Music

LaTesha Velez
Library and Information Science

Tyreasa Washington
Social Work

Maurice Watson
School of Dance

Connie C. Williams
Communication Sciences and Disorders

Robert Wiley

Clarice Young
School of Dance 

Christina M. Yongue
Public Health Education