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CSCL Statement on the Death of George Floyd

June 7, 2020


The Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature (CSCL) stands in solidarity with
the Black Midwest Initiative in condemning the murder of George Floyd by four police officers
and in calling for their accountability. Floyd’s death, truly unconscionable, represents a breaking
point in over four centuries of systemic racism and racial violence in the United States and the
brutality to which Black lives have been, and continue to be, subjected.  As a departmental
community invested in the critical and comparative study of literature and culture, CSCL is
deeply committed to working actively with partners in the University and beyond to confront the
longstanding history and current implications of racism and to support Black struggles—and
cognate struggles by other communities within the United States and other peoples
worldwide—for equality, for dignity, for life, and for justice. We are also committed to self-
critique, which will involve an urgent, ongoing process of examining our own departmental
practices in order to foster racial equity, inclusiveness, and a decolonization of knowledge—both
material and epistemological. We feel the pain of the family and loved ones of George Floyd and
countless others, and we share the hope that greater good will come from the activism of those
who have risked their lives, in protest, to demand transformative justice.

*This statement was developed collaboratively by CSCL faculty and published on June 8. It was
edited on June 9 at the suggestion of CSCL graduate students, who rightly contested the original
phrasing “the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Department custody” and called for
CSCL to commit to self-reflection and change at the departmental level.

Black Midwest Initiative Statement on the Death of George Floyd