Monday, June 1, 2020

This message was originally shared by e-mail with College of Law students, faculty, and staff.  Student leaders followed and shared their statements in solidarity.

June 1, 2020


Dear Iowa Law and Hawkeye Community, 

Black Lives Matter. We, the members of the University of Iowa College of Law Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the Black Law Students Association, write this statement in support of those directly and indirectly suffering from the consequences of racism and inequality. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed its disproportionate impact on Black and Brown communities, as generations of compounded health disparities, discrimination, and systemic racism have been exposed. On May 25, 2020, we lost another Black life in America with the untimely death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers from the Minneapolis Police Department. His death has sparked a national uproar in response. Unfortunately, we know this injustice all too well from other incidents involving Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and so many more, in a long history of senseless and cruel killings. It is important to recognize that each one of them was killed while doing simple daily activities that many of us take for granted, causing many more to live in fear of when their “luck” may run out. This loss of life is an outrageous consequence of deeply ingrained racism, which has been highlighted in recent years. 

The Black community and many others are in mourning and in pain across the country. We see and understand the outcry against injustice happening in Minneapolis and around the nation. Our hearts go out to those who are fearful and suffering. Understanding these incidents and the risks facing our minority students, we ask everyone to support and look out for one another. We understand that our students, staff, and faculty of color are being impacted by these events, and we are committed to addressing your concerns and meeting your needs during this difficult time. Please reach out to us if you need help or someone to talk to. 

Current events prove that the rights we have spent decades fighting for have yet to be fully realized. The Civil Rights movement, often described as a period in history, is ongoing. There is still a lot of work to be done. Each of us must stand for higher ideals and advocate for a more just and inclusive society. 

Fortunately, at the College of Law, we are in a unique position. In the coming years we will take on a role in the justice system. Therefore, we can play an active part in bringing about the change our country needs. We must take with us the responsibility to uphold the law, zealously advocate for justice, and be representatives for the people—all people. In the meantime, we ask you, future lawyers and empowered Hawkeyes, to speak out against racial injustice and to find ways to support those impacted in your local communities. 

In the President of The University of Iowa’s statement on the George Floyd killing, he provided campus, student, faculty and staff resources. Those resources can be accessed here. Additional resources to support the movement are linked below. 

Black Lives Matter. 

In solidarity, 

The University of Iowa College of Law Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee 
Professor Christina Bohannan, DEI Faculty Chair 
Meddie Demmings IV, DEI Student Chair 

The University of Iowa College of Law Black Law Students Association 
Aurora Arop, President 
Anne Parrish, Vice-President 
Alexis Walker-Dunham, Treasurer 
Efe Ayanruoh, Community Chair