Friday, June 5, 2020

On the evening of June 3, 2020, the Iowa City Police Department and Iowa State Patrol attacked peaceful protesters with tear gas and “flash bang” grenades along Dubuque Street, near its intersection with Interstate 80. In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, the Iowa City protesters had gathered to demand an end to police brutality, particularly directed toward people of color. Iowa City had not issued a curfew, and observers as well as video footage confirm that the protesters were peaceful. Nevertheless, the protesters were met with unnecessary and excessive force -- an example of the police brutality they had assembled protest.

We affirm the right of citizens to exercise their 1st Amendment right to peacefully assemble. We mourn with those who are hurting and we stand with those who cry out for justice.

As American Studies scholars, we are keenly aware of how differences in race, gender, sexuality and social class have been used to marginalize under-represented groups in society. We reject the social production of hierarchical difference, and stand for our common humanity, with the protesters and people of color who are suffering because of institutional racism. We reject overt and covert racism in the strongest terms. Black Lives Matter.

In the months and years ahead, we will redouble our commitment to promoting justice and equity in our role as educators. We know that many of you are already involved in this work. Together, let us listen carefully and act deliberately to demand a better future for us all.