On the Behalf of The Department of Africana Studies,
We write after the invasion of the US Capitol by Trump supporters. The ‘insurrection’ has generated enormous dismay and conflict in the nation and around the world. The Africana Studies faculty convey our own condemnation of the attack on the US Capitol. We know that a public statement will not necessarily change the environment, but it can contribute to an understanding of the importance of our nation’s democratic life.
We write to convey our genuine dismay at these events. We also share our distaste and disgust at the appearance of Notre Dame’s “God, Country, and Notre Dame” theme on a flag that was staked and very much present at the January 6, 2021 attack. We understand that it was one of the few university flags on-site. The presence of what should be an honorable phrase, in the midst of Trump’s minions, was hardly pleasant to see. But even more repulsive, it went unremarked by our University’s brief statement, when it deserved recognition. Notre Dame should be leading the reforms in the wake of the George Floyd demonstrations that spread across the world last summer. Instead of the Racial Reckoning that the nation deserves, there was only a whimper.
The need for fundamental reforms, so painfully revealed by police murder of George Floyd and others in recent months, was followed instead by the efforts at Insurrection in the attack on the Capitol. The challenges and protests by Trump’s allies’ about “illegal votes” are actually an effort to nullify Black votes in many parts of the country, including Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Atlanta. Trump’s failed efforts to deny the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris recognized the reality of the impact of those Black Votes. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, currently constrained by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision, will, we hope and pray, be reformed by the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in the legislative agenda of the Biden-Harris administration. We support our legally elected administration, and call on Notre Dame’s leaders to join us publicly in marching towards a future more closely related to the Catholic Social Teachings they so frequently affirm.
January 18, 2021
The Department of Africana Studies