Providence College is far from immune from perpetuating structural racism that harms Black and brown students, staff, faculty, and members of the community. Its long history involves systematic racial profiling, discrimination, intimidation and anti-blackness, and both open and covert hostility toward the immediate community in which it is located.
As members of the Providence College community we join in mourning the tragic and unnecessary murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black and brown people at the hands of the police and white vigilantes. We extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the loved ones of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and stand in solidarity with Black people everywhere who are processing, grieving, and demanding an end to all forms of racial injustice. Centuries of white supremacy, racial terror, anti-blackness, and violence have been inflicted upon Black bodies and communities in the United States and across the world. We are deeply saddened, traumatized, and infuriated that these violent oppressions continue and that these heinous acts persist.
This grief and trauma have been even more acute during this COVID-19 pandemic. This global public health crisis has brought into sharp relief the history and ongoing impacts of structural racism upon Black, brown, and other minoritized communities both in the United States and around the world. The difficulty in engaging in physical distancing at home and in communities; over- representation in prisons, detention centers, and homeless shelters; pre-existing health conditions brought on by structural racism and environmental racism; poor access to proper health services; and the overwhelming number of low-paid, “essential” workers (with inadequate or no personal protective equipment) who are compelled to continue working outside the home all disproportionately impact Black and brown people. We, therefore, recognize the extreme circumstances under which people who have already been marginalized in ways that make them more vulnerable to illness or death and social abandonment are risking their lives to serve the public as workers and protest against police brutality and racial injustice in these times.
We also recognize that these ongoing crises are close to home. Providence College is far from immune from perpetuating structural racism that harms Black and brown students, staff, faculty, and members of the community. Its long history involves systematic racial profiling, discrimination, intimidation and anti-blackness, and both open and covert hostility toward the immediate community in which it is located. [See: Charges of Racial Profiling at Providence College (2013), At Providence College, a rally against racial profiling on campus (2015), Statement from Councilwoman Kat Kerwin Regarding College Students Lack of Respect for their Community (2020)] Most recently, Providence College has yet to offer a comprehensive response and plan to address the harm caused to the community as a result of students’ deliberate violation of Governor Gina Raimondo’s COVID-19 measures. In addition, the college has been unwilling to explicitly state to students and parents that it will not tolerate violations of policies put in place to protect public health of all local residents, restate these measures when they are challenged, and intervene immediately as they are broken; instead the college has shifted accountability of student behavior to local law enforcement.
We unequivocally condemn these structures and acts and call on the administration to move beyond statements about diversity and lay out specific, measurable targets that Providence College will:
- prevent such harm in the future,
- repair and improve consistently poor relationships between PC and the community, and
- address institutional racism and anti- blackness on campus. The time is now for the college to demonstrate, with unambiguous action, that Black Lives Matter.
PC Coalition Against Racism (PC-CAR)
African American Society (Afro-Am)
Afro-Caribbean Association (ACA)
Asian American Association (Asian AM)
Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA)
Board of Programmers (BOP)
Motherland Dance Group
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) PC Chapter
Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS)
Providence Immigrant Rights Coalition (PIRC)
Society Organized Against Racism (SOAR)