Over the first two days of Black History Month, seventeen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) received bomb threats. Unfortunately, such threats are not new; this year, alone, there have been more than two dozen such threats to HBCUs and Black and African American Cultural Centers across the country. These threats are clearly intended to intimidate Black and African American members of our community; they are clearly intended to discourage institutions of higher education from having tough conversations about systemic racism. We condemn these cowardly acts in the strongest terms possible. We stand in full support and recognition of our HBCU colleagues and institutions.
We support law enforcement efforts to apprehend the individuals responsible for these threats. However, it is incumbent upon us to point out that these threats are not simply isolated incidents committed by a few rogue individuals; rather, they are part of a larger system of everyday violence in the United States enabled by a society comfortable with notions of white supremacy. Such violence is committed by people who feel that simply celebrating the contributions and culture of the Black and African American community is a threat to their existence. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eulogy for four Black girls killed in a church bombing, we must not be concerned merely about who sent these threats, but about “the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced” these threats.
To our brothers and sisters who have been threatened directly, please know that today you do not walk alone. We remain committed to unapologetically dismantling systems of white supremacy. We remain committed to celebrating Black and African American culture. To the members of our community who feel the emotional burden of these senseless threats, please know that we support you, and that the University has several resources available to you:
- Antiracism Resources
- The Cultural Centers and Programs
- UConn Africana Institute
- UConn’s Safety, Support, and Wellness Resources
- Support for those targeted by harassment or violence:
We also invite everyone to participate in Black History Month programming, including the African American Cultural Center’s (AACC) opening ceremony featuring Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump and Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd. This program is tomorrow, February 3, at 6 PM. Register HERE. The UConn Foundation will also host Crystal Emery to discuss racism as an inhibitor to freedom. We cannot all be free until we all recognize that Black lives matter.
The Office for Diversity and Inclusion