The University of Iowa Lecture Committee’s Statement on Police Violence
As a committee endowed with the responsibility to engage our campus in thoughtful discussion of issues affecting our community and nation as a whole, the University of Iowa Lecture Committee (UILC) would like to state our unequivocal support of protesters who have spurred forward the national conversation about systemic racism and the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, David McAtee, Jamel Floyd and countless others. Protesters are using their voices to lay bare the injustices the Black community and other historically marginalized communities experience at every level of society from criminal justice to education to housing to wealth to health care to political power and beyond. Police, with tear gas and other weapons of war, silence not only the protesters’ voices, but the continued violence and injustice that roots their outrage. UILC condemns the violent actions of police across the nation because we as a committee believe silence is only justified as a means to listening to the voices of our experts, leaders, friends, teachers, and community members so that we can become informed and civically-engaged citizens capable of enacting real change.
UILC will continue to promote diversity and inclusion in our committee membership and season programming by amplifying and uplifting the voices of the Black community and historically marginalized and underrepresented communities at large. We have been honored and grateful to present Former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice who with grace and passion described her journey as an Black American Woman rising in Washington politics where people of color are too few, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who taught us that when we are given power it is our duty to be an advocate for those society refuses to hear, Diane Guerrero who told her story as a citizen daughter of undocumented parents and delineated the impossibility of working within a broken immigration system, Rabia Chaudry who reminded us that the criminal justice system is particularly cruel to communities of color by wrongfully convicting thousands of people each year, and others who have steered the community’s attention to issues often neglected because of the communities they affect. This neglect is an injustice itself and it is up to us and our attendees to continue to expose our own ignorance and complicity in the marginalization of these stories.
To these students and the Iowa Freedom Riders who are responsible for leading these protests, we would like to say that we support you, we respect you, and we thank you for using your voice to change and better your community.
We thank everyone who has attended our events in the past and would now like to turn the microphone to you. How can we support you at this time? Who would you like to see on campus? What are some changes UILC can make to be a better, more supportive organization? We would love to hear your answers to these questions and more; responses to which can be sent through the contact page on our website: https://lectures.uiowa.edu/contact/. We’re listening. Black Lives Matter.