To the Teachers College Community

Dear TC Community Members:

It is with heavy hearts that we write to you about a number of horrific incidents that remind us that racial biases and institutional racism persist during this pandemic. Communities of color, who already are disproportionately affected by the deadly coronavirus, are now facing harsher treatment by police. Reports of aggressive and even violent police enforcement of social distancing regulations in low-income communities continue to mount while enforcement of those same regulations is lax to nonexistent in affluent neighborhoods. These inequities remind us all that our collective work to highlight and address the needs of the most marginalized must persist even as we adjust to new ways of teaching, learning and researching.

Three recent incidents involving Black victims stand out and prompt us to continue to advocate for a more just society. On February 23rd, Ahmaud Arbery was chased down in Georgia and murdered while jogging. His killers argued that he appeared to look like an individual who had committed multiple burglaries in the neighborhood. On March 13th, Breonna Taylor was shot eight times in her apartment and killed by Louisville, Kentucky police attempting to serve a search warrant. On May 25th, in a video-recorded act that bore a chilling resemblance to the 2014 police killing of Eric Garner, George Floyd, while handcuffed and face down on the ground, was killed by police officers in Minneapolis as he pleaded repeatedly, “I can’t breathe.”

There have been nationwide protests in response to these incidents that have sparked responses that are notable of the times in which we are living. The president, in a tweet that has since been censored for glorifying violence stated: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” – a statement that many Twitter users have declared as a veiled threat against protestors.

As we respond to a global pandemic that has impacted us all in varying ways, let us not forget that the fight for social justice continues, Black lives matter and we stand together as one community in condemning all manifestations of racial bias and all expressions of hate.

We recognize that these horrific events have exacted a heavy emotional toll, which is more acute during these times of isolation. We want to remind you that the College offers support resources:

Teachers College, Columbia University Counseling Services
Student Support and Counseling at TC

In solidarity,

Office of the Vice President for Diversity & Community Affairs