June 3, 2020

Although I am conscious of how such public statements can come off as perfunctory and performative, BU WGS cannot remain silent at a time when every voice needs to be deployed in support of Black lives. Racist violence and murder at the hands of police and other state actors is an inexorable part of our nation’s history. Unfortunately, there is nothing particularly new or specific to this political administration about police murders such as those of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, about civilians weaponizing the police as in the case of Christian Cooper, or about civilians committing anti-Black murders such as Ahmaud Arbery’s, among the countless others we mourn in the wake of state violence. Nor is there anything novel about the violent suppression of protest we are experiencing in this moment. This is part of a historical pattern, characterized by cycles of radical uprisings and subsequent retrenchment of the unjust status quo. It is our ethical obligation to learn this history, learn from this history, and to seize moments of uprising to agitate for sustained social change.

As the feminists who founded WGS would remind us, the personal is political. There are ample opportunities, today and every day, to effect change in our personal lives and to use personal experience to drive collective political action. For many of us, this moment is an opportunity to push ourselves into a deeper understanding of and commitments to anti-racist action. It is, crucially, also a time to amplify the voices of and give resources to Black people and Black communities and to push through discomfort or the desire to center whiteness in these conversations.

To that end, I would like to use the remainder of this message to boost a number of projects here at BU, in Boston, and beyond.

I encourage our community members to read the BU African American Studies Program’s Statement and BU Law Dean Onwuachi-Willig’s reflections. I ask that you support the fundraiser organized by UMOJA: The BU Black Student Union and BU student government. I urge you to join and amplify these events organized by the BU Office of Diversity & Inclusion and to keep an eye out for emails coming from BU Diversity & Inclusion for a comprehensive list of events and BU-led direct action.

Black Lives Matter Boston, along with a number of other organizations, coordinates and amplifies local and national direct action efforts. There are many resources available to help connect you with the many opportunities to contribute to anti-racist efforts, for example, this Ways to Help guide or this roundup of places to donate, learn more, and join the protest. How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi is an especially valuable, accessible text for those looking to learn more about challenging institutional racism and white supremacy.

I would also like to highlight two BU WGS courses that may be especially useful for your anti-racist education: WS 335: Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender, taught by Professors Saida Grundy & Sarah Miller and WS 393: Technoculture and Horizons of Gender and Race, taught by Professor Takeo Rivera.

If you have more questions or ideas about the fight for racial justice, if you have events or texts you’d like us to amplify, if you need help accessing resources, please be in touch. Along with many of my colleagues, I am making a commitment to prioritize students, faculty, and staff who need WGS’s support and partnership in anti-racist action and to center it in our events, curriculum, and co-sponsorships.

Much love and solidarity,

Cati Connell, (Program Director, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)


Derek Anderson (Lecturer, Philosophy)
Japonica Brown-Saracino (Professor, Sociology)
Arianne Chernock (Associate Professor, History)
Joanna Davidson (Associate Professor, Anthropology)
Shelly DeBiasse (Clinical Associate Professor, SAR Health Sciences)
Sean Desilets (Senior Lecturer, CAS Writing Program)
Bria Dunham (Clinical Associate Professor, SAR Health Sciences)
Sarah Frederick (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Kyle Gobrogge (Lecturer, Neuroscience)
Max Greenberg (Lecturer, Sociology)
Samia Hesni (Assistant Professor, Philosophy)
Carolyn Hodges-Simeon (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Cheryl Knott (Professor, Anthropology)
Petrus Liu (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Lida Maxwell (Associate Professor, Political Science)
Olivia McCargar (Program Coordinator, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Marie Satya McDonough (Lecturer, CAS Writing Program)
Sandy McEvoy (Director of Graduate Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Brenda Gael McSweeney (Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Ashley Mears (Associate Professor, Sociology)
Luis Menéndez-Antuña (Assistant Professor, School of Theology)
Roberta Micallef (Professor of the Practice, World Languages & Literature)
Sarah Miller (Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Erin Murphy (Professor, English)
Lynn O’Brien Hallstein (Professor, CGS Division of Rhetoric)
Anthony Petro (Associate Professor, Religion)
Carrie Preston (Director, Kilachand Honors College; Professor, English)
Takeo Rivera (Assistant Professor, English)
Christopher Schmitt (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Sophie Seita (Assistant Professor, English)
Merav Shohet (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Nancy J. Smith-Hefner (Chair, Anthropology)
Susanne Sreedhar (Director of Undergraduate Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Associate Professor, Philosophy)
Deborah Swedberg (Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Keith Vincent (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Karen Warkentin (Professor, Biology)
Yoon Sun Yang (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)