AMS statement on racial injustice (June 4, 2020)

As a department AMS is committed not only to the advancement of knowledge about the ancient Mediterranean world, but also to the betterment of our own culture and society. We are dedicated to the improvement of the world we live in now, for those we dearly love as well as those we can never know and cherish all the same. Yet with each new day we witness further acts of cruelty and violence against Black people. The enormity of systemic racism can be overwhelming, but we must take action. In a letter to faculty and staff on June 3, Pat Okker, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science, observed, 

“As a nation, as a university, and as a college, we are called to respond. Our most immediate action must focus on supporting our Black colleagues and students who are especially traumatized by these events. MU’s Legion of Black Collegians, a leading voice for social justice for more than fifty years, has issued a powerful statement about the “anxiety, fear, and mental, physical and emotional taxation” that the Black community experiences. Those of us who do not bear this taxation must recognize and acknowledge it, wherever it exists." 

We support #BlackLivesMatter. We are united against racial injustice, and will continue to confront and oppose it, as we have in the past, with renewed energy and creativity. Some of us will volunteer, others will engage in peaceful protest, and many will lend their support through donations and other means. The Graduate School and the Office of the Provost have issued calls for specific action at the departmental level. Directors of Graduate Studies and mentors have been asked to examine and change policies and practices that create biases and barriers, and to consider taking up conversations with colleagues, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars to learn about racism and resistance. The Provost has called on departments to come up with two action items that will intentionally bring together faculty across their differences with the goal of creating a culture of authentic inclusivity, to find ways to measure the impact of our actions, and to report each month on our progress toward the promotion of inclusion. As Provost Ramchand says: “The key is to act and DO something.”  

We are developing a departmental plan for AMS, and will be asking our faculty and graduate students to share their concerns anonymously regarding the departmental culture around issues of inclusion, followed by a full department meeting to discuss these concerns.

Since June 4 we have added a number of solidarity statements and action plans, many of which contain links to additional resources for supporting people of color: 

Asian and Asian American Pledge of Support for #BlackLivesMatter

Eos Africana: Africana Receptions of Ancient Greece and Rome

Lambda Classical Caucus Statement of Solidarity

Letter for Support and Solidarity for Black Classicists posted by Classics and Social Justice

Multiculturalism, Race & Ethnicity in Classics Consortium (MRECC)

SCS Blog post on Mountaintop Coalition: Samuel Ortencio Flores and Danielle J. Perry

Sportula Statement of Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

Women's Classical Caucus

 

AIA, CAMWS, and SCS statements

Archaeological Institute of America

Classical Association of the Middle West and South

Society for Classical Studies