Open Letter

Please note: The “post-truth” header of this page refers to the December 2019 conference this website was originally set up for.


June 8, 2020

In Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter: An Open Letter

The current representatives of the Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the German Association for American Studies (GAAS) want to take this moment to address the present situation in the United States. Not only have the ongoing circumstances of the Corona crisis been fatally affecting black communities by at least three times the rate of white individuals (APM Research Lab) due to systemic disparities and racist ideologies, acts of law enforcement before and during these troubling times have also led to the violent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other black individuals as well as the arrests, injuries, and deaths of protesters calling for the stop of this very brutality at the heart of a white supremacist system that does not value black lives.

We want to wholeheartedly denounce these anti-black sentiments and violent forms of systemic racism in the United States—and everywhere in the world. We are outraged by the ways members of the federal government, especially the current American president, are failing to recognize their responsibilities for these criminal actions and are instead assigning blame to those challenging the status quo and standing up in the name of justice. We explicitly oppose the use of military equipment to control demonstrations as well as the threat to deploy U.S. troops to “dominate” protesters. We urge the authorities to act in defense of human rights by listening and responding to collective calls for reform instead of further marginalizing and oppressing already vulnerable communities.

In this respect, we want to express our support of liberation movements such as Black Lives Matter, including the innumerable global anti-racism efforts in the streets and online in the name of #nojusticenopeace. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, whose lives we continue to hold in the highest regards.

As scholars in the multidisciplinary field of American studies, we believe it is our duty to engage in decolonizing work in our research, our classrooms, and in the conversations we have with each other and with individuals outside of academia. We want to commit to dismantling supremacist systems by following prompts to amplify BIPOC voices, to read across intersections, to diversify our syllabi, to check our privileges, to speak up against injustice where we see it, and to take care of ourselves and others who need our help in times of adversity.

We believe that statements to support black lives must be accompanied by concrete actions. We thus want to give you the opportunity to sign your names below in support of the BLM movement on a larger scale and of our letter specifically. Please use the comment function to do so. We believe this is a fundamental measure signaling not only our collective solidarity with the victims of racial violence, police brutality, and white supremacy but also our commitment to contributing to a safe, sensitive, and supportive PGF environment that strives to #leavenoonebehind and thus backs, especially, colleagues and friends of color. This is also the kind of environment we want to help create for the GAAS at large.

We also want to offer an interactive platform featuring a variety of ways we can support causes and initiatives surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond. We ask for your help in collecting and sharing any resources and/or to add new categories and items where you see fit. We hope to encourage your support in whichever way is possible for you in the present moment, taking into consideration that current insecurities surrounding COVID-19, racism-induced injustices, and other hardships are affecting many of us in Germany as well as other parts of Europe and the world, too. You can access the list of resources here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DZefKFGsfgo1HiJmxZh_K2PzCR1a8dnQYIw-y9sFGd8/edit?usp=sharing

Last but not least, we also also want to express our support of the initiatives taken by the Diversity Roundtable of the GAAS, whose position statement you can access here: https://dgfa.de/diversity-roundtable/. Addendum: You are welcome to indicate your support of the DR statement when signing in a comment below as well!

We thank you all for your ongoing efforts as researchers, teachers, protesters, activists, and, especially, supporters of the PGF network, which will surely engender many more discussions on these topics in the years to come. Together we stand.

PGF Team Passau: Alexandra Hauke, Bettina Huber, Thomas Stelzl

PGF Team Stuttgart: Jana Keck, Whit Frazier Peterson, Melissa Schlecht 

Postgraduate Representative on the advisory board of the DGfA: Judith Rauscher

41 Replies to “Open Letter”

  1. I wholeheartedly support this statement. And co-sign in solidarity.

    Like

  2. We hereby sign this open letter in full support of Black Lives Matter.

    Like

  3. Thank you for this statement, expression of solidarity, and list of resources! Also thank you to the DR and their statement!

    Like

  4. I hereby cosign the PGF and DR open letters/statements in solidarity.

    Like

  5. Thank you for your strong and thoughtful words as well as the helpful resources and the interactive platform you have provided. I hereby sign my name in full support of the PGF and the DR statements.

    Like

  6. Thank you so much for this strong and thoughtful statement! I hereby sign this letter in full support and solidarity.

    Like

  7. Thank you for your thoughtful statement, which I wholeheartedly support. We all know that words matter, but words are not enough in the fight against systemic racism. Therefore, I particularly appreciate the list of resources that you provided. I would also like to express my full support for the statement drafted by the Diversity Roundtable. Your work demonstrates how much we need the PGF and the DR as integral parts of the GAAS.

    Like

  8. Thank you for your powerful words. I wholeheartedly support your statement and the statement of the diversity roundtable. I also appreciate the ressources and tools you offer.

    Like

  9. I’d like to express my unconditional support for both the PGF and DR statements. Thank you to both platforms for finding unafraid words of solidarity and for suggesting ways in which we can actively work towards dismantling structural inequalities.

    Like

  10. I wholeheartedly support both the PGF and the Diversity Roundtable statements. Thank you for voicing these unequivocable messages and taking a clear stand on behalf of our association’s members!

    Like

  11. Thank you for all your work! I’m co-signing in support of the PGF and DR statements.

    Like

  12. I hereby co-sign the unequivocal statements of the Postgraduate Forum and the Diversity Roundtable in full support. Thank you for stressing our responsibilities as educators and scholars!

    Like

  13. Thank you and the Diversity Roundtable for finding such strong words in solidarity and for including a call to action, scholarly and beyond, which I fully support. I urge everyone to also contribute to the resources you compiled, in the hope that they will help us address these issues in our work with the renewed urgency and clarity that this moment requires.

    Like

  14. A powerful and sufficiently radical statement of solidarity. Thank you so much.
    No Justice, No Peace!

    Like

  15. Thank you for this statement and the effort that you put into compiling a list of resources that others can contribute to. I’m signing in support of the PGF and DR statements.

    Like

  16. I’m co-signing the powerful statements by both the PGF and the DR in full support and solidarity. Thank you for all the hard work you do! As teachers and researchers, we must decolonize our minds, in academia and beyond, and take anti-racist actions within our association, institutions, curricula, and research agendas.

    Like

  17. Thanks for great work and a powerful statement. I’d like to sign, if this is possible as a tenured prof. Otherwise – full support!

    Like

  18. I’m signing in support of the PGF and DR statements. Thanks for all of your work!

    Like

  19. Thank you for this clear statement. I fully support the PGF and DR statements. It is important that we do not let this moment in history pass without substantial change and accountability.

    Like

  20. Thank you for this thoughtful statement and your expression of solidarity and grief that I would hereby like to co-sign in full support. As Americanists, we need to acknowledge the long history of racism and white supremacy in the United States and address these issues in our teaching, particularly in our education of future teachers, and beyond academia.

    Like

  21. Thank you for these important statements! I am grateful for the initiatives of both the PGF and the Diversity Roundtable. As scholars in the field of American Studies, we have an obligation to take a clear stand against systemic forms of white supremacy, and we must commit to dismantling them through our work and actions in academia and beyond it.

    I am signing this open letter in full solidarity and support.

    Like

  22. Thank you for this statement, your thoughtful words, and for the resources. Let us take a strong stand against systemic discrimination and commit to antiracist actions. I hereby want to co-sign.

    Like

  23. Thank you so much for this strong, thoughtful statement, which I would like to co-sign. I especially appreciate the the resources and the interactive platform!
    I would also like to once again explicitly voice my support for the initiatives of the Diversity Roundtable.

    Like

  24. Thank you for your thoughtful words! I hereby co-sign your statement, and also want to express my full support for the demands expressed by the Diversity Roundtable.
    As scholars of American Studies we bear special responsibility to acknowledge the state-sanctioned violence in the US and its long history of anti-black racism for what it is. We also need to address these issues in our scholarship and teaching. Your interactive collection of material is therefore a welcome and necessary resource!

    Like

  25. Thank you for speaking out and showing solidarity. I sign my name in full support. Please keep adding to the list of resources!

    Like

  26. Thank you for this statement, I fully support the concrete actions proposed. As American Studies, we have the responsibility to commit to antiracist politics and practices, within and beyond academia.

    Like

  27. because we have to speak. because we have to stand up. because this is a systemic problem. and we are part of the system.

    Like

  28. Thank you for these clear words, expressions of solidarity, and commitment to concrete actions. With my signature I want to show my full support of the PGF and DR statements.

    Like

  29. Thank you for these clear words, expressions of solidarity, and commitment to concrete actions. With my signature here I want to show my support for the PGF and DR statements.

    Like

  30. Thanks so much for putting together this thoughtful statement which I would hereby like to cosign.

    Like

  31. This is to sign my name in support of both the PGF and the DR statements.

    Like

  32. Thank you for combining this strong statement with links to resources and an interactive platform. I see the PGF as a valuable network and a voice in the GAAS to encourage each other to educate ourselves and do better.

    Like

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