Archive for June, 2020

Statement of Solidarity from the Executive Council of the International Society for the Study of Narrative

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

The memory of Emmett Till continues to haunt, and the malice that motivated his murder is alive and well. All over the world, from Minneapolis to Paris, from Salt Lake City to New York City, from Rio de Janeiro to London and Berlin, the outrageous murders of people of African descent have moved people with antiracist conscience to protest and hold accountable a system that devalues the lives of our African American brothers and sisters. The names of the victims call out for recognition and action. We say their names. Ahmaud Arbery, murdered in Brunswick, Georgia, while on a jog. Breonna Taylor, murdered by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky while she slept in her own home. George Floyd, asphyxiated by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These grotesque killings recall a legacy of injustices against people of African descent such as Adama Traoré in France, the victim of police violence. Freddy Gray in Baltimore, Maryland. Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio. Sandra Bland near Houston, Texas. Philando Castile. Walter Scott. Eric Garner. Alton Sterling. Michael Brown. And so many more.

We are outraged at these continued abuses of power, committed by those sworn to protect and serve all of the public. We denounce racial hatred and the violence it incites. We grieve with the victims of such hostility and their families and friends, and our hearts go out to everyone who suffers at the hands of white supremacist ideologies and racist systemic structures. We stand in solidarity and protest with all who want to reform biased systems and help bring about a world free of hatred, discrimination, and prejudice. Those of us with privilege must use it to maximum positive effect. Now, more than ever, it is time to make unequivocal the position that the status quo is intolerable, and that what is insufferable to the least privileged of us is insufferable to us all.

We invite all members of the Narrative Society to recognize the need for action. While we know there is much more work ahead of us, we are proud to state our unity in the position that we are better as an organization when everyone is seen with the same inherent worth, irrespective of culture, creed, nationality, language, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and ability. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to social justice. Now is the time to immerse ourselves in narratives and narrative scholarship that can help academia continue to confront its investment in and engagement with systemic racism, and with the systemic failures by which it is bolstered. It will take everyone to change the system for the better, and it will require all forms of response to make it happen. We invite you to consider which responses you want to undertake and to act accordingly. Here is a partial list: to engage in peaceful protest; to educate ourselves more on inequality, privilege, and racism; to incorporate these issues in our teaching and scholarship; to facilitate the sharing and understanding of narratives of resistance and reform; to comfort and support a friend; or to stand up, confront, and denounce hatred when you see it. We invite all of our society members to participate in positive change wherever possible. Together we can be part of the change we need and desire.