At the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, we are both deeply saddened and profoundly angered by the brutal, horrific murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police. In the face of the continued murder of Black people in Minnesota, across the country, and in many places around the world, we reaffirm our commitments to racial justice and equity.
We recognize that the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the State of Minnesota were established through the theft of Dakota and Anishinaabe land and the genocide of the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples. Indeed, the first sins of Indigenous genocide and the enslavement of African Americans laid a foundation for a society built upon and maintained through violence and white supremacy. While it is rare in academia and education that the Transatlantic slave trade or the institutions and legacies of slavery and segregation in the United States are termed genocide, noted genocide scholar Adam Jones wrote that arguments against the label genocide have too often become a tool for denial, “serving to deflect responsibility for one of history’s greatest crimes.” Last week, civil rights attorney Ben Crump wrote in the Washington Post, “And then we hear that nagging thought that keeps coming back and demanding us to face it: How many more deaths have not been captured on video? How long has this been going on without witnesses or documentation? Is this an outlier or is this endemic? And it starts to feel like genocide.” We recommend Crump’s 2019 book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People.
Indeed, over the past few days, our email inboxes and social media accounts have been filled with statements regarding the vicious murder of George Floyd and commitments and resources for supporting one another, dismantling white supremacy, promoting social justice, and engaging in anti-racist teaching and learning. We are turning to our colleagues and amplifying their voices and critical work. Some additional resources we highly recommend:
1619 Project from the New York Times
A collaborative set of scaffolded anti-racism resources aimed at engendering white allies and accomplices in anti-racist work, a set of anti-racist resources complied by Victoria Alexander, and another very comprehensive list of resources compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.
Rethinking Schools offers a number of resources for teaching about and for social justice, including a magazine and many excellent books. We highly recommend Teaching for Black Lives (edited by Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au), as well as Rethinking Schools’ yearly Planning to Change the World: Plan Book for Social Justice Educators (edited By Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Margaret Kavanagh, Thomas Nikundiwe, Carla Shalaby) – check back for the 2020-2021 edition
“‘We Charge Genocide’: The 1951 Black Lives Matter Campaign” from the University of Washington’s Mapping American Social Movements Project (by Susan Glenn)
East Side Freedom Library: The ESFL is a local community library and gathering space in East St. Paul dedicated to inspiring solidarity, advocating for justice, and working toward equity for all
MPD150: Working Towards a Police Free Minneapolis: MPD150 is a participatory, horizontally-organized effort by local organizers, researchers, artists, and activists dedicated to changing the story of policing in Minneapolis and working to ultimately dissolve the Minneapolis Police department. [Example lesson resource on policing reform]
We stand in solidarity with you and our Twin Cities communities.