Editorial: Upholding the fight against racism

To our fellow Butler community members, 

Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed and George Floyd are some of the most recent names on an inexcusably long list of killings rooted in racist police brutality. In the past week, outrage over these senseless murders has resulted in mass protests across at least 75 cities, including Indianapolis. 

Each of these murders, along with hundreds of others stretching throughout American history, indicates the pervasiveness of systemic, structural racism embedded in all levels of our institutions. Our founders built the United States on principles designed to empower white bodies and oppress black and brown bodies, and this system remains in full effect today. 

The events from the past week cannot go unaddressed, particularly from organizations that benefit from their position in the public eye, their ability to educate others and to spark activist movements in communities across the country. 

The editorial board of The Butler Collegian condemns the actions of the police officers responsible for the deaths of thousands of black and brown people. The Collegian stands in solidarity with the black community and sympathizes with the deep pain and suffering it has experienced.

Racism thrives unchecked when we are unwilling to break our silence and contribute to the public outcry. As journalists, we are duty-bound to hold truth to power whenever and wherever possible — through our content, through our connectivity with our readership and through our commitment to truthful, impactful storytelling. 

The truth is that racism is alive and well in the United States today. Silence is compliance, and speaking out against racial injustice is not something The Collegian takes lightly. We recognize our limitations in understanding and covering diverse perspectives at a predominantly white university. 

However, complacency and apathy have no place on this campus and within this newsroom. It is imperative to hold each other accountable in uncovering our own implicit biases and the ways in which they manifest in our actions and the university. 

The university has work to do, but it is work that can be done together. This newspaper is run by the students, for the students. As such, it is our responsibility to hold each other and the university accountable for actions that set us back in the fight for equality and justice. We promise to serve as an arbiter of truth and justice for the students of the Butler community, especially those whose voices have been historically ignored or discredited. 

The Butler community is especially strong because it holds its members to a standard of decency, respect and appreciation for others. To move forward, we must fully explore the injustice of the past. We encourage seeking educational resources, advocating for tangible change on campus and amplifying black and brown voices in the Butler community. 

We call every member of the Butler community to reflect on their place within this fight and to engage in dialogue against bias and bigotry. We ask you to think critically and hold potentially uncomfortable conversations surrounding the state of racism in this country. 

In order to do our part in the fight against systemic racism, this year The Collegian will work to implement strategies designed to amplify and empower diverse voices. 

  • The Collegian accepts letters to the editor and will encourage the publication of diverse perspectives.
  • The Collegian staff members will attend diversity training sessions held by the Efroymson Diversity Center. 
  • The Collegian will work tirelessly to diversify sources and subjects of coverage. 
  • The Collegian will diversify staff members to ensure several perspectives of storytelling. 
  • The Collegian will hold Butler leadership accountable to uphold the diversity messaging they have asserted. 

In 2019, the spring editorial board wrote an editorial letter addressing hate speech.

“It is crucial that staff, students, and other members of the Butler community work together to create spaces where having difficult conversations is encouraged, where compassionate actions are rewarded and where hate is quickly and firmly condemned.”

Those words still ring true today, and until black and brown students on this campus receive the justice they deserve, they will continue to be our motivator. 

— The Butler Collegian fall 2020 editorial board 

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