Race, Violence, and Health

Quarantine Spring 14, collage by Favianna Rodriguez
Favianna Rodriguez, “Quarantine Spring 14,” 2020, collage on cotton rag paper, 11×15 inches. Copyright 2020 Favianna.com.

We are at a moment of reckoning in the United States and in the world. The struggle for human rights, social justice, and expressive freedom in the face of blatant, violent racism is urgent, unswerving, and outspread.

The wanton murders of Black Americans—Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, George Floyd—and the systemic racism that continues to compromise the lives of marginalized communities in the U.S. and the world have brought us to this point. These events and the legacy of discrimination around them have stirred transnational protests and commonality of purpose.

Our current duress echoes a global history that includes the ravages of transatlantic slavery, the violence of settler colonialism, and the residues of empire-building in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. The traces of this past live in the operations of current institutions of security and border control, public health, education, and employment.

This history, coupled with the disparate consequences of the current pandemic on marginalized populations, have brought us to our own reckoning. As an academic institution, Whitman College has an ethical obligation to examine these issues collectively. To that end, we have adopted the theme “Race, Violence and Health” for the 2020-2021 academic year to organize our community around a series of lectures, workshops, conversations, and curricular offerings that will help us think, together, in a sustained way over the course of the year.

Follow our Instagram account @raceviolencehealth and the hashtag #whitmanraceviolencehealth on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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