Concerned CMU Faculty & Staff - It's Time To Stand Up!

Carnegie Mellon University - President Farnam Jahanian, Provost Jim Garrett, Vice President of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno and the Board of Trustees

Sign this petition to demand that our university support efforts to dismantle systemic racism in law enforcement on CMU's campus and beyond.

Petition by
Richard Purcell
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

To: Carnegie Mellon University - President Farnam Jahanian, Provost Jim Garrett, Vice President of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno and the Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned faculty and staff of Carnegie Mellon University would like to pledge our unequivocal support for the efforts of protesters in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Louisville, Brunswick, GA and other places across this planet. We recognize that by protesting in the streets you not only risk your health and bodily safety from overzealous law enforcement and police violence but from the ravages of COVID-19. That you have chosen to do so for black and brown men and women who--regardless of differences of class, gender, and sexual preference all share the experience of being the targets and victims of state-sanctioned violence, white vigilantism and police surveillance--is an act of incredible bravery and sacrifice. We recognize that you are asking for substantive, revolutionary change to the institutions of American law enforcement and the carceral state. You are fighting against the forces of anti-blackness, racial terror and all forms of oppression and injustice laundered through the law.

We write this statement because Carnegie Mellon University, where we work, collaborate, create, learn, mentor, and teach, has not written anything that rises to the ethical and moral reckoning that our nation is facing. We do agree with President Jahanian’s call to “confront and dismantle racism and injustice wherever they exist” (“Confronting Racism in Our Society,” May 30, 2020). But we also believe that in the face of the systemic violence visited upon people of color in the United States, the typical calls by many universities to “reflect” on racism, and on how to better foster diversity and inclusion at our institutions, fail to rise to the ethical and moral reckoning that is demanded by this moment. The deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose II, and untold others demand strong words and even stronger action.

Therefore, we:

1. Declare our support for protesters across the United States, and for their fundamental, Constitutionally-guaranteed right to do so.

2. Denounce and demand the immediate suspension of the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, batons, curfews, mass arrests and other military-style weapons and tactics meant to suppress, intimidate and disperse protesters.

3. Declare our support for immediate adoption of reform measures like “Eight Can’t Wait,” as well as proposed federal legislation aimed at curtailing police abuses, including provisions banning choke holds, ending “qualified immunity” for police officers, creating a nationwide misconduct registry, and the end of “no-knock” warrants.

4. Demand the end of military-style weapons and tactics in policing, including surveillance programs targeting communities of color. We demand that policing strategies, techniques and training must shift instead to community policing programs based upon active and responsive consultation with community members on policing practices.

5. Declare our support for proposals to “defund” police forces, by shifting funding from policing into community-focused programs designed to better conditions of life and educational and employment opportunities in communities of color.

6. Declare our support for measures aimed at ending systemic racism in the operations of law enforcement and incarceration, such as ending racial biases in arrests, judicial procedures, and sentencing, and dismantling the for-profit prison system, all of which currently target populations of color, and particularly African American men, in grossly disproportionate ways.

For those who would like to access more resources or directly support organizations and allies in Pittsburgh and beyond who organize and fight for all of our rights as citizens follow the links below:

Black LIves Matter: #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.

Bukit Bail Fund: The Bukit Bail Fund of Pittsburgh is a coalition of individuals and organizations striving to provide support for those incarcerated at Allegheny County Jail, located in Pittsburgh, PA. We hope to not just provide bail, but also to increase our capacity for supporting people after they have been released. We are working to get people released from jail as quickly as possible. We call for an end to cash bail in Pittsburgh and everywhere. We believe no one should be in a cage.

Alliance for Global Justice: It is the mission of the Alliance for Global Justice to achieve social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement. We recognize that the concentration of wealth and power is the root cause of oppression requiring us to work together across ideologies, issues and communities. The Alliance nurtures organizations seeking fundamental change in international and national conditions that disempower people, create disparities in access to wealth and power, poison the earth, and plunder its resources. We support locally-based grassroots organizing by sharing political analysis, mobilizing for direct action, monitoring the centers of corporate and government power, expanding channels of communication, and sharing skills and infrastructure. Our commitment to solidarity and to non-hierarchical democratic processes enables us to respectfully listen and respond to each other within the movement.

1HoodMedia: The mission of 1Hood Media is to build liberated communities through art, education and social justice.

SisTers PGH: SisTersPGH, Corp offers outreach, accurate transgender education, trans inclusion training, advocacy, and emergency housing/shelter for transgender people of Pittsburgh. SisTers PGH is a transLED, transgender community center, that provides supportive services, emergency shelter and housing for the trans and nonbinary communities of Pittsburgh, PA. SisTers PGH, also, trans inclusion training, advocacy, and People's Pride PGH while offering opportunities for our trans communities too thrive instead of survive.

BroThers PGH: BroThers PGH is a branch from the roots of SisTersPGH; a transLED organization that provides opportunities for our trans communities of Pittsburgh to thrive instead of survive. BroThersPGH specific focus is on the lives of the transmasculine folks in PGH.

Alliance for Police Accountability: It is the mission of the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) to bring the community, police, and government officials to a working relationship and put an end to racial profiling, police brutality, and injustice within the criminal legal system through advocacy, education, and policy!

SteelSmiling - The Black Mental Health Fund: Steel Smiling bridges the gap between community members and mental health support through education, advocacy and awareness. Our vision is to connect every resident in our region to resources and treatment. Our programming includes: Mental Health Awareness Month Training Blitz, Suicide Prevention Month Forum and Beams to Bridges.

Assata’s Daughters: Assata’s Daughters (“AD”) is a Black woman-led, young person-directed organization rooted in the Black Radical Tradition. AD organizes young Black people in Chicago by providing them with political education, leadership development, mentorship, and revolutionary services.

National Bail Out: National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. We are people who have been impacted by cages — either by being in them ourselves or witnessing our families and loved ones be encaged. We are queer, trans, young, elder, and immigrant.

Equal Justice Initiative: The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.