The faculty and staff of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies emphatically join our students and colleagues across campus, the country, and the globe in calling for rethinking public safety and security. As expressed by thousands of members of the University of Washington (Seattle) community, “we call on President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Mark Richards to take immediate action to ensure the health and safety of people on campus, particularly Black and other persons of color, by protecting them from police violence.”
We make this statement in response to many calls from our students that UW take action to rethink its relationship to the Seattle Police Department and the work of the UW Police Department.
We join these calls as scholars of international and global studies, aware that the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are among the more recent victims of the global forces of white supremacy, colonialism, and structural violence that go back a long time.
We understand with W.E.B DuBois that the violence against Black people in the U.S. is “but one phase of a world problem.” The histories of police violence against Black people today are entangled with the histories of imperialism and colonialism.
We understand that the forces of structural racism explain why pandemics like COVID-19 disproportionately take the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples. We recognize that the current outbreak of xenophobia against Asians and Asian Americans has deep historical roots.
Consistent with our School’s mission to cultivate global citizenship and our values of academic excellence, diversity, and equity, we ask our UW leadership to join the global movement to protect Black community members, demilitarize our communities and re-prioritize public resources toward education and away from incarceration. As scholars of international studies, we add our voices to the historic efforts to make meaningful change out of this moment of crisis.