Given the state of national distress and mourning in the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement in the last weeks, years and centuries, the Yale Daily News condemns such unjust violence and stands in solidarity with the protestors and activists who are fighting to dismantle systemic racism in America. Recognizing the many privileges and responsibilities of our institution and platform, we want to express our solidarity particularly with protestors in our own New Haven community, as well as address the ways the News has failed communities of color and needs to do more.
The nation has reached a breaking point in recent days. Our country’s history tells a tragic and much longer story of dehumanization of and violence against Black Americans. Only by constantly confronting our own organization’s place in this history and recognizing the ways in which it continues into today, can we ever hope for a different future.
There are more important voices to listen to and uplift right now: the Black organizers, students and leaders who have demanded widespread change — on issues of anti-racism, anti-Blackness, government failure and historical injustice — locally and nationally. But we hope that in using our platform to speak up and say the names of those who have been lost to racial violence, we can contribute to the choir of voices that have said loudly and clearly, now and for so long: Enough.
The News deeply respects and admires the work of protesters, especially in our own New Haven community, which has historically been a center for activism and mobilization. New Haven organizations and community members have long fought structural racism in local institutions. From protesting the New Haven trial of Black Panther Party members at the 1970 May Day rally to the hard-won, decades-long push for a Civilian Review Board. From organizing around Justice for Jayson in 2017 to Justice for Stephanie and Paul in 2019. Last weekend, the New Haven community showed up once again, shutting down parts of the I-95 highway to demand an end to police brutality. They also denounced the “triple occupation” of New Haven, referring to the fact that the city has seen police intervention from the New Haven Police Department, Hamden Police Department and — the nation’s oldest university police department — the Yale Police Department. Our University contributes to the injustice and brutality that New Haven citizens face.
We also recognize that, as Yale students — members of an educational institution with centuries-old, entrenched privilege — we have often failed the New Haven community and perpetuated deep-rooted inequities and oppression. This privilege is particularly stark in a city that has tremendous experience with the long American legacy of systemic racial oppression.
Only speaking out against racial violence is not enough. We must acknowledge and root out racial hatred and prejudice in all its forms. For non-Black allies, this work must be active and intentional. It must involve actively fighting against racism rather than idly opposing it and spreading awareness and anti-racism in our communities. We cannot overstate the seriousness and importance of allyship.
The News has a long and ongoing history of being alienating and exclusionary, with the composition of our staff inadequately reflecting the communities we seek to serve. We have failed on this front, but we will strive to improve. We will continue to interrogate our work as a newspaper and take actionable steps to become an accessible and inclusive space, one that produces content that uplifts communities of color at our university and in New Haven. It is our job to hold ourselves accountable. We will hold internal conversations about these issues, and will publish the results of these early discussions — concrete actions that the News will take — within the month.
We strongly urge our readers to speak out and show up for the Black community. Protest, sign petitions, vote and demand change from your political representatives. Those with financial means: Donate to the families of victims, and other local and national organizations that support the Black community, that combat police violence and anti-Blackness and address racial and criminal justice. Give to the upcoming “Yale Together” initiative, which will match funds for racial justice organizations.
As the pandemic pulls us so far apart from one another, we hope that we and our fellow Yalies can find ways to feel closer than ever before. The past few weeks affect members of the Yale community differently. While we may all be feeling grief and frustration, the weeks have been infinitely more difficult for Black community members.
In showing up for one another and taking direct action, we can all begin to bring about change.
The News’ View represents the opinion of the majority of the members of the Yale Daily News Managing Board of 2021.