Candlelight vigil at Bard in memory of Michael Brown, August 2014.
Photo by Claire Debost ’18
A Message to the College Community from President Botstein
May 31, 2020 Words cannot properly express the anger, sadness and despair each of us feels at the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the killing, by two civilians, of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick Georgia, and the murder, once again by officers sworn to uphold the law, of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentucky. The victims were all black; the perpetrators were all white.
On behalf of the entire Bard College community, I want to express our solidarity with all who grieve for the deaths, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination, and with all who find themselves without hope in these dark and violent times.
Manor Gatehouse, Center for Civic Engagement.
Photo by Chris Kendall ’82
A Statement from the Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College
June 6, 2020 “While our efforts span the globe, we recognize that work starts at home: there are structural societal inequities that need to be addressed in the United States, including at Bard and in the communities in which Bard and the Bard College network operate.”
Reflecting on the Moment is a collaborative initiative spearheaded by the Dean of the College in consultation with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The new series invites alumni/ae, current undergraduates, faculty, and staff to have honest conversations about the current moment we are living in the wake of a global pandemic and systemic police brutality. The aim is to present models of inclusive dialogue, to draw from the rich personal experiences and expertise of our ever-developing and ever-changing community, and to present approaches for community activism and engagement in the name of racial equity and justice.
As we all grieve the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Jones, and as we all participate in various ways in calls for justice and equal treatment of black people by our police systems, Professor Myra Young Armstead invites members of the Bard community to contribute thoughts and perspectives on these issues to a new series, In the Moment. Please send contributions—brief essays, journalistic reflections, personal stories, poetry, and the like—to email@example.com.
Statements of Solidarity
We, the Chaplains of Bard College, are horrified by the news of the unjust killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody. As religious leaders of the Bard Community, we are committed to standing up against any forms of racism that attempt to corrode our community and our nation. Our grief and compassion are also compounded by the disproportionate number of deaths of black persons from the COVID 19 virus. The callous disregard for black lives in the US is exposed again and again in the continuing inequities in health care, economic opportunity, and law enforcement for people of color.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, who faced his own terror of racism growing up black in Buffalo, NY, recently made this statement to the press regarding the murder of George Floyd: “This crisis reflects deep sores and deep wounds that have been here all along. In the midst of COVID-19 and the pressure cooker of a society in turmoil, a man was brutally killed. The basic human right to life was taken away. His basic human dignity was stripped by someone charged to protect our common humanity. And perhaps the deeper pain of this is the fact that it’s not an isolated incident. The pain of this is that it’s a deep part of our life. It’s not just our history. It is American society today. We are not, however, slaves to our fate, unless we choose to do nothing. … Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. Our prayers and our work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing.”
He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
Furthermore, in the Torah, God says, ""Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." - Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)
God is clear in the Qur'an about standing up for justice for ANY HUMAN BEING in chapter 4, verse 135 "O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed God is ever, with what you do, Acquainted."
"Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.” (Quote from the Buddha)
We, the Bard Counseling staff, want to add our voices in expressing grief, sorrow and compassion to all those who have been impacted by the race-based tragedies that have been occurring across our nation. These tragedies reflect a longstanding and entrenched history of structural and systemic injustice that we condemn and are dedicated to addressing. We believe that intolerance, hatred and institutional racism have no place in our community or our nation.
While these tragedies can be traumatizing for all of us, we recognize that they may be especially injurious to members of our Black and African-American community. As mental health professionals and members of a diverse and caring college community, we stand in solidarity with the people of color in our community and across the nation.
We at Stevenson Library share the community's outrage and grief at the murder of George Floyd and too many other African Americans at the hands of police. As we grapple with a way forward as a community and a nation, we'd like to offer this Antiracism Research Guide as a pathfinder for resources on anti-racism and racial justice. This link is posted on the library's homepage.
We are continually adding resources to the guide, so please feel free to send feedback and suggestions to me, or to the guide's author Alexa Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope you and everyone in your circle is safe and healthy.
Director of Libraries
The Peer Health and Wellness Education Department firmly stands in solidarity with the collective vision to end systemic oppression. Our hearts are broken as we continue to see injustice and violence spread across the country. Our hearts are also filled with hope, as we witness the power of unity, community, connection, love, and understanding.
Black Lives Matter Black Lives Are Precious Black Lives Are Needed Black Lives Are Loved
It is more important than ever for us to ground ourselves firmly in our bodies and let our truth guide our actions. We can do this effectively when we increase our awareness, utilize our internal and external resources well, lean on each other for support, and take the time to slow down to look within. Let's put our well being at the forefront of our minds by integrating self-care into our daily activities. There is much pain, grief, and trauma we are holding in our hearts. We invite you to take the time you need to honor your experience and heal from these wounds.
If you are interested in having more tools to explore and defeat prejudice in society and in yourself, we encourage you to delve into the following resource from the Greater Good in Action.
To help you stay grounded and well, we invite you to take a few minutes to review the attached resources: SCOPE Safety Aid and a Trauma-Informed and Crisis Care Resource Guide, whose goal is to "help you process and move through whatever is coming up so that you can be the best leaders, strategists, family members, partners you can be in this radically transforming and painful time."
Please know that many college support services continue to be offered during this time. I am available remotely to help you make a self-care action plan via zoom. If you would like to channel your energy into fitness, we encourage you to contact our Community Fitness Coordinator at email@example.com or visit fitness.bard.edu for updates. If you need more support counselors are also available.
Peer Health and Wellness look forward to working together to create a healthier, equitable community for all in the fall of 2020 and beyond.
Yours in health,
Annia Reyes Director of Health and Wellness Education
Vigil for Justice, Love, and Solidarity
June 3, 2020
In light of the recent tragedies and protests across the country and the world, members of the Bard community gathered virtually via Zoom on Wednesday, June 3 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT). There were prayers, a moment of silence to honor the lives lost, and moments of affirmation for our communities affected by these acts of hate and violence, and to remind us all that we must move forward in love and solidarity. The gathering closed with a message from the College, inclusive of steps to ensure a more equitable future at Bard.