Racial and Social Justice Commitment
The Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston joins with other research centers and institutions across the country in outrage and heartbreak at the horrific and senseless killings of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Here in Boston, we further condemn the killings of Terrence Coleman, Usaamah Rahim, and Burrell Ramsey-White by the Boston Police Department and urge our public officials to reopen these cases.
We cannot take instances of police harassment and brutality out of the vicious context of violence and oppression against Black Americans. Instead, we recognize and denounce the racist foundation of our society which pervades every aspect of American life. We join those across the country and across the world protesting for justice for the victims and an end to police violence.
At the Center for Social Development and Education, our mission for the past several decades has been to promote the meaningful inclusion of individuals whose voices are not often heard. In line with this mission, we stand firmly in solidarity with the voices of Black Americans demanding to be heard, and our voices join millions of others in affirming that “Black Lives Matter”. As a research center, and as individuals, we acknowledge the need for continued anti-racism efforts and commit to contributing to this work moving forward.
In order to create meaningful change, we need to take specific actions within our center, and through partnerships with organizations both within and outside of the University. The following action items serve as starting points for engaging in racial justice work and ensuring accountability as members of the CSDE. In addition to engaging in a process of educating ourselves to help increase our own knowledge of the ways in which racial injustices operate within society, we commit to:
- Increasing intersectional research within the center, with a focus on participatory action methodology that prioritizes the needs and experiences of the often-marginalized communities we work with each year. We will do so by intentionally designing and selecting new projects that use an intersectional lens, as well as pursuing projects that provide a direct service or benefit to the community.
- Mentoring undergraduate students on campus to provide meaningful research experiences, as well as providing lasting support and advice focused on their career and educational goals. As part of these experiences, we will encourage students to contribute to the research process and help them pursue opportunities to present their work.
- Actively recruiting and hiring team members from diverse backgrounds to increase representation within both the CSDE and Camp Shriver. This starts with intentional hiring practices, such as specifically posting on academic and job search networks that promote people of color.
- Collaborating with other research centers at the University that focus on racial justice to support partnerships across different areas of study, with the goal of fostering a more intersectional understanding of the issues that impact communities.
These action items are only a small step towards creating this change and will evolve as we continue to learn and connect with people who are directly impacted by racial injustice.