TO: CWIT and COEIT Community
FROM: Carolyn Seaman, Director of the Center for Women In Technology and Professor, Information Systems
DATE: June 3, 2020
SUBJECT: CWIT's Response to Racial Violence
The killing of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of the police is tragic and outrageous. That tragedy and outrage is multiplied in the context of the countless Black men, women, and people of all genders who have been similarly murdered in the name of systemic racism. Our outrage becomes unbearable in the larger context of deep-seated American oppression, the continued devaluing of Black lives, the silencing of people of color, and the inability of so many white people to acknowledge their privilege and the damage it causes.
Black Lives Matter.
CWIT’s vision is to prepare and empower members of our community to be change agents in creating technology workplaces that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Current events motivate us to call on our members to use that preparation and empowerment in society, within and beyond our workplaces. It is time for our community to apply the gifts and talents that CWIT has helped us to develop, to be a force for understanding, healing, and, above all, action.There are many ways that one can make a difference and we recommend UMBC’s Mosaic Center, who has curated an excellent list of resources, as well as a powerful statement.
CWIT’s statement of values demands us, in particular, to listen to and challenge each other, to give careful thought to our words, to practice bravery and vulnerability, and to make sure that all are included, valued, and heard. Above all, we ask the CWIT family to take care of each other. We are all hurting, but current circumstances threaten the very essence of our being for many of us. Reach out and listen and care.
UMBC President Hrabowski reminds us that UMBC’s commitment to inclusive excellence requires all of us to do more to confront injustice in the world. CWIT’s values include a social justice imperative to remove obstacles to full participation of groups that are historically and currently marginalized or underrepresented. Current events underline the deeply embedded systemic racism that keeps people of color from the opportunity to fully participate in many aspects of society. Speaking this truth and acknowledging this reality is critical, but it is not enough.We are all obligated to address this, whether or not we feel equipped to do so. But as members of the CWIT community, we are charged with a mission and privileged with experience that prepares us to take action, and thus we cannot stand by.