Email to MIT Graduate Students: Black Lives Matter, in Solidarity

To the MIT Graduate Community: 

We, the Graduate Student Council Executive Committee, stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, our Black graduate students, and all those working to fight for racial justice in the United States. We offer our absolute support and will actively work towards dismantling systems of oppression.

Activists and protestors have gathered across the country to voice their outrage against the murders of Black lives including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. Moreover, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Black communities are disproportionately affected.

As researchers at a STEM-focused institution, it can be easy to believe that the work we do is ‘neutral’ and ‘objective’. This is untrue. It is impossible to disentangle it from politics and power dynamics – particularly because we operate in a society with systemic, institutionalized racism that permeates every aspect from academia to law enforcement to health care.

Infamously, STEM research has a deep-rooted history of being political and anti-Black. To counteract this, we urge non-Black graduate students to uplift Black voices, cite Black scholars, educate themselves on these important issues, and speak up about racism both at MIT and in society. Without action, we are complicit in upholding an unjust system that continually devalues Black lives. 

Being antiracist means more than being non-racist – it means actively counteracting racism. Making change begins with unlearning racist habits, and acknowledging and reflecting on the privileges and biases we hold. It will require intentional, ongoing action. We must spend time reading resources about active allyship, practice those skills, and teach them to others. It is on us to educate ourselves and call out racism. We must do better to support and protect Black lives.  

To our Black students – we recognize that you acutely feel recent events in ways that non-Black folks cannot understand. This profound emotional toll is exhausting and traumatizing. We value each of you as vibrant members of the community. We hope you are taking care of yourselves during this time and offer our sympathy and collective action.

Below are internal and external resources collected by the GSC Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) committee for students to learn about these issues and how to get involved and take action. As MIT graduate students, we have both the obligation and opportunity to do better. Let’s fight for a more just, equitable society. 

 

In Solidarity,

MIT Graduate Student Council Executive Committee

#BlackLivesMatter

The above letter is a GSC Statement. The resources below are provided for relevant and interesting reading, but not all views expressed in them necessarily reflect the views of the GSC.

Resources for Black Graduate Students:

 

Resources for Antiracist Allies (as collected by the GSC DEI): 

 

MIT Resources:

  • MIT Mental Health and Counseling: 617-253-2916 (days), 617-253-4481 (nights & weekends)
  • Institute Community Equity Officer (ICEO): John Dozier, jdozier@mit.edu 
  • Institute Discrimination and Harrassment Response Office (IDHR): idhr@mit.edu 
    • File a report on incidents of discrimination and discriminatory harassment
  • Office of Graduate Education: 617-253-4860, grad-edu@mit.edu
  • GSC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee: gsc-diversity@mit.edu
    • Please feel free to send us any concerns or ideas regarding racial equity and justice on campus. We are also looking for students to get involved!