This statement was sent to all UT Staff Council Constituents via email on 6/8/20.
I greet you at the beginning of a new week, in the midst of much turmoil and strife in our country, and following a long, weary spring.
The names drop like stones into a deep, deep well – a well of injustice against the Black community that this country has allowed to persist. I have been feeling the need to write this for many days, but the words at my disposal seem inadequate to the magnitude of the situation. And, I admit, there is a small, privileged voice in the back of my head saying “but I’m so tired”. How can I find the right words?
Fortunately, the stronger part of me has an answer. Who am I to be tired? I don’t have to get up every morning wondering if the police will unfairly target me based on the color of my skin. I don’t have to go to work every day knowing that some will perceive me as ‘less than’, regardless of the quality of my efforts. I don’t have to live my life knowing that the system is weighted against me, whether the system in question is the educational system, the healthcare system, or the criminal justice system. Unlike many of us, especially my Black and POC colleagues, I have the luxury of choice as to whether I want to deal with this right now. And so we all must make the choice not to let this moment pass. Are we going to allow these wrongs to continue, our silence making us complicit? Or are we going to draw a line, make a stand, make a change? My words may be inadequate, but I will use them, and every other tool at my disposal. We will all find our well-earned rest one day. Right now, let’s get to work.
As Chair of The University of Texas Staff Council, I want you to know that we stand in solidarity with our staff, faculty and students of color and against racism, violence, and oppression – today, tomorrow, and as long as it takes to achieve a better world for all of us.
Staff Council is currently undergoing our annual transition in elected representation, which also involves identification of priorities for the coming year. If you have ideas or suggestions for how we can best advocate for our Black staff colleagues moving forward, please share them via our Issues Form.
~Rainbow Di Benedetto, UTSC Chair 2020-2021 and representative for District 408 | she/her/hers