AAG Specialty Group Chairs’ Response Letter to AAG Diversity Initiatives

September 14, 2020 

Dear AAG Council, Executive Committee, and the broader AAG Membership, 

We are writing to express our concerns about the AAG’s Internship Assistance Program, Diversity Task Force, and their engagement with/treatment of the chairs of ‘diversity’ specialty groups. We are writing this open letter with the aim of increasing the AAG’s transparency and accountability around their initiatives to promote ‘diversity’ and support students who are unevenly impacted by the impacts of COVID-19 budget cuts and, more broadly, bias and discrimination in the discipline. We encourage other specialty groups and all AAG members to honour their anti-racism statements and stand in solidarity with our call by signing in support of this statement. 

Background and Context 

On Monday, August 17th, the Government Relations Manager for the AAG, Michelle Kinzer, sent an email invitation to the Chairs of the Black Geographies Specialty Group, the Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, the Latinx Geographies Specialty Group, the Disability Specialty group, and the Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group. We were asked to provide our availability between Wednesday, August 19th to Tuesday, August 25th to meet with Michelle Kinzer and Gary Langham, the Executive Director of the AAG, about the internship program that stemmed from the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force effort, and a new Diversity Task Force the Council is keen to set up. The meeting took place on Monday, August 24th and lasted for over an hour, rather than the 30 minutes for which it had been scheduled. On Tuesday, August 25th we were asked to put names forward to guide the AAG COVID-19 Rapid Relief Internship Program by the end of that week. 

Internship Program 

The internship program was described to us as being faculty-driven and would be tied to student interests in connection to our speciality groups. The AAG would announce the internship program in early September (they did on September 3rd) and the specialty groups were asked to help publicize the announcement and encourage applications. Faculty would be asked to identify internship opportunities and connect them to a specialty group. We were under the impression that volunteers from each specialty group would rank the applications to help determine which faculty were chosen. The faculty who were selected would then decide which student(s) could fulfil each internship position. Therefore, students would not be directly involved in shaping the internship, nor would the internship organization or specialty group chairs be involved in selecting the student. 

The chairs left this meeting unclear about the implementation, logistics, and efficacy of the internship program. For example, when asked how the AAG would assess if an internship organization was unable to pay an intern because of a lack of funding resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the internship program would ensure that it benefits organizations that need this sort of assistance, it seemed that the AAG had not taken this into account, nor had they prioritized these factors. Additionally, we did not understand why the internships needed to be sought out by faculty, rather than have the program be student-driven. To have the internship program be student-driven would enable students who already hold existing relationships with organizations to apply for funds, rather than have faculty cast a wide net to identify organizations for potential students. 

Finally, we later learned that the stipend for students is only $3,000, well below the national average for internship pay. In addition, students are expected to attend the annual AAG conference, but will only receive funding to cover virtual registration costs. If the goal of this program is to assist students who are financially struggling and typically do not have access to these sorts of opportunities, we believe they should be fairly paid and compensated fully for conference registration if attendance is expected. Additionally, if the objective of this program is to alleviate immediate needs during a pandemic, we wonder whether a mutual-aid fund would better serve student needs. 

Diversity Task Force 

For the Diversity Task Force, we were asked to consider our involvement as “volunteers,” which, like the internship program, was presented to us as an “opportunity.” The task force’s directive acknowledges “that as an organization we must do better in how we include diverse voices in our leadership and planning” and states that members “will be charged with setting Equity & Inclusion goals for the AAG over the next several years” (as per Michelle Kinzer’s invitation email on August 17th). This is despite the existence of an already active ‘Diversity and Inclusion Committee’, which was not mentioned during or after this meeting. Gary Langham also added that the AAG had hired a diversity consultant (whose name, identity, or experience has not been made public), but that as specialty group Chairs our cooperation would be paramount to ensure a mandate for the changes the AAG Council would approve. 

We were not offered information about how the AAG’s diversity consultant was hired, or how they are situated within networks of power and privilege. Nor were we given the opportunity to meet with this consultant. As such, we have no sense of their expertise, the institutional influence they will have, their budget, or the extent to which they will work with us. This lack of transparency further opens up the possibility for ‘diverse’ specialty group Chairs to be asked to provide additional consultant work that would remain unaccounted, unpaid, and underappreciated with respect to the official ‘diversity’ consultant the AAG has hired. 

In response to the request for our voluntary participation on the Diversity Task Force, we asked if the AAG could instead provide us with stipends for our involvement. As the work being requested of us does not fall under prescribed Chair duties, we felt that this labor could be compensated like any other task. A stipend would also recognize the additional time, energy, and labor that is being requested of marginalized scholars in early-career positions, during a pandemic, and at the start of online or hybrid academic terms. Requesting that Black, Indigenous, and Latinx geographers, geographers who live with disabilities, and LGBT2QIA+ geographers provide free labor to enhance the ‘diversity’ of the AAG only reinforces the notion that improving inclusion and representation in academic institutions is not ‘real’ or valuable work. Ultimately, the AAG’s lack of transparency and requests for unpaid labor leave unrecognized the ways in which our Black colleagues have been impacted by the current events taking place in the United States, and–more generally–they demonstrate inconsistent engagement with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and disabled geographers within the AAG. The asymmetries in labor and compensation are starkly contrasted, as someone saw fit to hire a diversity consultant rather than compensate experts from within our ranks. 

Demands 

Following the Black Geographies Specialty Group’s Statement from June 2020, as well as the many additional statements of support circulated by other specialty groups, we question if the AAG’s process for addressing inequities in the discipline have considered the multiple layers of undue burden on marginalized scholars. How do these initiatives address the institutional racism and anti-Blackness that intersect with other systems of oppression? How does the AAG’s treatment of us, as ‘diverse’ specialty group Chairs, reflect whether or not they are listening to the systemic issues we have already identified that so urgently need to be addressed? 

We are asking for transparency and accountability about how these programs were developed, and we refuse to participate in these programs until they align with the BGSG’s statement. As specialty group Chairs, we have not been provided with a clear indication as to whether our past suggestions have been taken up by the AAG; as such, we do not know if the contributions being requested of us now will be made into policy or have any traction on the future conduct of the AAG. 

Therefore, as the ‘diverse’ Specialty Group Chairs identified by the AAG, we are calling for the AAG to respond with: 

– A clear breakdown of the AAG’s process in developing the Diversity Task Force and ‘diversity’ initiatives, including minutes from relevant meetings; 


– Clarity around who the ‘diversity consultant’ is and who populate the ‘Enhancing Diversity Committee’, and what recommendations or reports they have provided to the AAG; 

– A follow-up on how the AAG is responding to the BGSG statement and other statements from June 2020 that interrogate the institutional culture of the AAG; 

– A clear breakdown of the AAG’s process in developing the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force programs, including minutes from these meetings, to address the following questions: 

– Why were the timelines to develop the COVID-19 Rapid Response subcommittee proposals and contact ‘diverse’ specialty groups so short?  

– How and why were specific subcommittee proposals adapted, combined, or dismissed? Proposals were initially 34 and ended with 9 funded. 

– How and why was the internship program decided upon and formulated? 

– What are the final budget estimates per program? 

– Who are the members of the Blue Ribbon Committee? 

– Clarification on why the budget for the COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Force effort was initially stated as $8 million, and is now is $1 million; 

– Clarification on why money is not being disbursed to undergraduate students in more direct ways, for example microgrants for those already working in their communities or aid without a work requirement; 

– An explanation as to why AAG cannot directly fund NGOs to support student internships and other related programs; 

– A more robust response from the AAG regarding recent changes that the NSF has made to the HEGS program. The announcement from NSF that “post-modern, post-structural, humanistic etc. [research], is not a good fit ” disproportionately impacts critical human 1 geographers from our speciality groups, as well as others across the discipline. 

The AAG Executive Office recognizes that “it must do more to ensure that geography as a discipline becomes inclusive and equitable.” We ask that the AAG live up to its statements2  and begin by combating the power imbalances that are at work in the AAG at large. We understand that the current AAG leadership has inherited the institutional structure of the AAG, and that structural problems are difficult to solve in months or even within the term of office of the current leadership. We raise these concerns and questions to help the current AAG leadership align with the BGSG’s extremely pressing recommendations for progressive change in the AAG to mitigate the perpetuation and exacerbation of ongoing discrimination, bias, invisibilization, and exhaustion experienced by Black, Indigenous, and Latinx geographers, as well as disabled and LGBT2QIA+ geographers. We hope our letter is received in the spirit of improving networks of support for marginalized geographers and building structures of solidarity between the AAG Council, the AAG Executive Committee, and its ‘diverse’ specialty groups. 

We look forward to hearing back from the AAG Council and Executive Committee regarding our statement by September 30, 2020. 

We encourage other specialty groups to honor their anti-racism statements and stand in solidarity with our call. All AAG members are also welcomed to sign in support of this statement. 

Sincerely, 

Julian Barr, Co-Chair, Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group 

Diana Beljaars, Chair, Disability Specialty Group 

Madelaine Cahuas, Co-Chair, Latinx Geographies Specialty Group

Camilla Hawthorne, Chair, Black Geographies Specialty Group 

Magie Ramírez, Co-Chair, Latinx Geographies Specialty Group

Rae Rosenberg, Co-Chair, Queer and Trans Geographies Specialty Group 

Deondre Smiles, Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Specialty Group  

BGSG Declaración Solidaria con el Movimiento BLM

Esta declaración denuncia la forma en que la supremacía blanca de la vigilancia policial se persiste igual que siempre. El Grupo Especializado de Geografías Negrxs condena la violencia rutinaria de la vigilancia policial en los Estados Unidos, donde el número de personas asesinadas por la policía se extiende más allá de 1,000 personas cada año. Lamentamos las muertes de George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Marielle Franco y todas las demás víctimas de la violencia anti-Negrx y extrajudicial sancionada por el gobierno por todo el mundo. Expresamos nuestra inversión en las demandas resonantes de las manifestaciones en por el país y a escala mundial para desinvertir en y desmilitarizar a la policía.

Agradecemos las declaraciones de solidaridad de otros grupos especializados y la Asociación Americana de Geógrafos. También urgimos a nuestros colegas actuar más allá de sus declaraciones y trabajar para transformar la disciplina y sus legados de racismo, imperialismo, colonialismo, homofobia y sexismo. Hay que apoyar a nuestros estudiantes y profesores quienes estudian y sacan a la luz estos problemas estructurales tanto en su trabajo como en sus experiencias cotidianas. También debemos apoyar a aquellos en la lucha quienes resisten a estas estructuras en las calles, llamando la atención sobre las múltiples formas de violencia anti-Negra promulgadas por el estado policial.

 

Este momento tiene el potencial para hacer un gran cambio social transformativo, y la disciplina de geografía debe prepararse para estudiar las estructuras del capitalismo racial, los paisajes de las cárceles, anti-Negritud y la supremacía blanca en los estudios espaciales en todo el mundo. Hay que aseguarse que este tipo de erudición abolicionista sea fácilmente accesible para aquellos que lo necesitan con mayor urgencia: siendo académicos públicos, eliminando los muros de pago de las revistas académicas y haciendo responsables a las instituciones educativas de los estándares de éxito para la transformación social.

 

Mientras tanto, debemos llamar la atención sobre las varias formas de violencia que se producen y reproducen dentro de la academia, desde la violencia epistémica de apropriarse de las teorías de activistas comunitarias sin crédito y la borradura de las téorias de Geografías Negras de las listas de lectura de nivel de posgrado y programas de pregrado, hasta las microagresiones raciales cotidianas y el acoso racista manifiesto de los eruditos Negrxs. Nuestros colegas deben ir más allá de “ponerse en contacto” y realmente comenzar a afirmar y relacionarse con las Geografías Negras y los académicos que producen este trabajo vital. Como se escribe Aretina Hamilton:

 

Es un proyecto desgarrador que pocos de mis colegas blancos entenderán, incluso cuando lamentan las injusticias – una disonancia cognitiva se occure. Mientras que estoy angustiado y desconsolado por los miles y miles de cuerpos Negrxs y otros que están siendo derribados por el complejo militar-industrial, me encuentro en una crisis [existencial] al considerar la violencia frecuente que se ha lanzado sobre personas Negras, Indígenas y otras personas de color en la academia, en los programas posgrados, y sí, en nuestras organizaciones profesionales. Muchas veces esta violencia es invisible y difícil de comprender. Tal vez no produzca un derramamiento de sangre ni impida su movilidad física. No hay bastónes ni policías enojados que temen el miedo con sus rodillas en el cuello. Y sin embargo, es palpable. Sentimos el dolor. Un dolor sin cesar. Permanece en nuestros cuerpos, apaleándonos.

 

Pedimos a nuestros colegas que apoyen a las personas Negras de cualquier manera que puedan; por ejemplo, a través de la ayuda mutua (vea la Lista de Ayuda Mutua de BGSG) y las prácticas de citar (vea la Lista de Lectura de BGSG). También aceptamos donaciones hechas al Black Geographies Specialty Group (Grupo Especializado de Geografías Negrxs), que se utilizará para financiar viajes de conferencias estudiantiles y otras oportunidades para jóvenes académicos que trabajan en las intersecciones de raza, espacio y poder. Urgimos a nuestros colegas a movilizarse para transformar nuestra disciplina y nuestras instituciones de educación superior. Esto incluye:

 

  • Exigir que las universidades y colegios corten sus lazos con la policía, siguiendo los pasos de la Universidad de Minnesota y las Escuelas Públicas de Minneapolis;
  • Aumenta la contratación y promoción de profesores Negrxs;
  • Crear canales profesionales en que puestos posdoctorales de diversidad se convierten a puestos titulares ;
  • Modificar los procesos de titularidad y promoción para que el trabajo de tutoría y servicio que se le pide desproporcionadamente a la facultad de color tenga mayor peso;
  • Priorizar revisiones de manuscritos presentados por eruditos Negrxs;
  • Dedicar fondos a programas de tutoría y apoyo para estudiantes Negrxs de pregrado y posgrado.

 

Dentro y más allá de la academia, todos debemos reconocer, honrar y continuar el trabajo de los luchadores por la libertad Negrx para construir mundos de transformación radical y justicia racial.

 

Firmado,

 

El Comité Ejecutivo del Grupo de Especialidades de Geografías Negrxs

*Esta traducción fue graciosamente editada por el LxGSG (el Grupo de Especialidades de Geografías Latinxs)

 

Minneapolis Syllabus (Dr. Adam Bledsoe)

With thanks to Dr. Adam Bledsoe, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota, for compiling and providing permission to share, this reading list on Black politics, space and policing in Minneapolis is urgent reading for these times.

 

Minneapolis Uprising Syllabus

This bibliography is intended to offer background to how Minneapolis became a flashpoint for a global uprising against anti-Blackness and state violence. What follows is meant to be a brief introduction to understanding the struggles of the Twin Cities’ Black community, focusing especially on the case of Minneapolis. While this historic moment is only possible because of the dedication and courage of those risking their lives in the streets, studying the legacies of struggle in the Twin Cities is vital to grappling with our current conditions and being able to shape our future.

The first section offers background to the Minneapolis Police Department’s relationship to communities of color throughout the past century and a half.

The second section deals with the multi-faceted Black experience of the Twin Cities from the early 19th century through the late 20th century.

The third section is concerned with how the Black community of Minneapolis and Saint Paul has engaged in various forms of struggle over the past two centuries to combat the anti-Blackness and exclusion they faced.

The final section offers a snapshot of present-day Black Minneapolitan experiences, how local scholars and activists are thinking about these experiences, and some of the proposed means for addressing current forms of anti-Blackness.

By understanding the rich legacy of Black struggle in the Twin Cities, we can better understand the roots of what we are presently living through. Moreover, we can learn from the successes and setbacks of those that came before us as we struggle for the future we want to live in. This bibliography is meant as a small contribution to further study and, most importantly, to further concrete political action.

Minneapolis Police

“Enough is Enough: A 150 year performance review of the Minneapolis Police Department” – MPD 150

“A demand for justice and law enforcement”: a history of police and the near North Side – Kristen Delegard

The Influence of Police Brutality on the American Indian Movement’s Establishment in Minneapolis, 1968-69 – Christine Birong

Report of the Metro Gang Strike Force Review Panel – Andrew Luger and John Engelhof

“Drug Enforcement in Minority Communities: The Minneapolis Police Department” – Police Executive Research Forum/National Institute of Justice

Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence – The Promise of Peer Intervention – Michael Quinn

History of Black Minneapolis

“Why this started in Minneapolis” – Sarah Holder

Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State – Christopher Lehman

A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Minnesota, 1837–1869 – William Green

“Race and Segregation in St. Paul’s Public Schools, 1846-69” – William Green

“Minnesota’s Long Road to BLACK SUFFRAGE 1849-1868” – William Green

North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers

“Eliza Winston and the Politics of Freedom in Minnesota, 1854-60” – William Green

“The Black Community in Territorial St. Anthony: A Memoir” – Emily O. Goodridge Grey and Patricia C. Harpole

The Children of Lincoln: White Paternalism and the Limits of Black Opportunity in Minnesota, 1860–1876 – William Green

Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865–1912 – William Green

The Negro in Minnesota – Earl Spangler

African Americans in Minnesota – David Vassar Taylor

Minneapolis in the Twentieth Century: The Growth of an American City – Iric Nathanson

“When the Klan Came to Minnesota” – Kay Johnson

Jim Crow of the North

Overcoming: The Autobiography of W. Harry Davis – W. Harry Davis

Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis

A Fiery Unrest: Why Plymouth Avenue Burned

“Booker v. Special School District No. 1: A History of School Desegregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota” – Cheryl Heilman

The Scott Collection: Minnesota’s Black Community in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s – Walter Scott

Twin Cities Black Political Movements

Crusaders for Justice: A Chronicle of Protest by Agitators, Advocates and Activists in Their Struggle for Civil and Human Rights in St. Paul, Minnesota, 1802 Through 1985 – Arthur McWatt

W. Gertrude Brown’s struggle for racial justice: female leadership and community in Black Minneapolis, 1920-1940 – Michiko Hase

“Phyllis Wheatley House: A History of the Minneapolis Black Settlement House, 1924 to 1940” – Howard Karger

“St. Paul’s Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 1925-1941” – Alisha Volante

“’A Greater Victory’: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in St. Paul” – Arthur McWatt

Racial Uplift in a Jim Crow Local: Black Union Organizing in Minneapolis Hotels 1930-1940 – Luke Mielke

“Labor, Politics, and American Identity in Minneapolis, 1930-50” – Jennifer Delton

Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party – Jennifer Delton

“The Modern Civil Rights Movement in Iowa and Minnesota” – Donald Strasser and Melodie Andrews

Black Empowerment in 1960s Minneapolis: Promise, Politics and the Impact of the National Urban Narrative – B. Joseph Rosh

“The Way Opportunities Unlimited, Inc.”: A Movement for Black Equality in Minneapolis, MN 1966-1970 – Camille Maddox

Black Power And Neighborhood Organizing In Minneapolis, Minnesota: The Way Community Center, 1966-1971 – Sarah Jayne Paulsen

For a Moment We Had the Way – Rolland Robinson

“A Small Revolution”: The Role of a Black Power Revolt in Creating and Sustaining a Black Studies Department at the University of Minnesota – Jared Leighton

“Nerve Juice” and the Ivory Tower Confrontation in Minnesota: The True Story of the Morrill Hall Takeover (at the University of Minnesota) – Marie Braddock Williams, Rose Freeman Massey, Horace Huntley

“Remembering the Morrill Hall Takeover: Professor Emeritus John Wright participated in a pivotal moment in the U’s history” – Susan Maas

A study of the organization and politics of the Welfare Mothers Movement in Minnesota – Susan Hertz

Family therapy and the city: an examination of the community’s role in healing 1981-1990 – James Arthur Nelson

Community and the Recognition of the Other: A Levinasian Examination of The City, Inc. 1987-1992 – Nicholas Saray

A crossroads year at a crossroads place: the City School, a Minneapolis alternative school 1992-93 – Jo Applegate Nelson

Somalis in Minnesota – Ahmed Yusuf

SOMALIS IN MINNESOTA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT: An Inventory of Its Oral Histories at the Minnesota Historical Society

21st Century Black Minneapolis

Somali Community Needs Assessment Project – Mia Robillos

“The Prostitution Project: Community-Based Research on Sex Trading in North Minneapolis” – Lauren Martin

“Preventing Foreclosures in North Minneapolis: An Evaluative Study of the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition’s Foreclosure Prevention Outreach Project” – Casie Moen

“Going Beyond the Art: A Program Evaluation of Juxtaposition Arts Between 2005 and 2009” – Alecia Leonard

FREE CeCe!

“Staying off the bottom of the melting pot: Somali refugees respond to a changing US immigration climate” – Ihotu Ali

A study on Somali Minnesotans: present challenges and future prosperity – Abdiqani Farah

“The State of Black Women’s Economics in Minnesota” – Brittany Lewis

“THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE: Evictions and Profit in North Minneapolis” – Brittany Lewis

“The Diversity of Gentrification: Multiple forms of gentrification in Minneapolis and Saint Paul” – Edward Goetz, Brittany Lewis, Anthony Damiano, Molly Calhoun

How Housing is Affecting Economic Development and Health in the African American Community in Minneapolis

Trauma and Suicide in the African American Community

The State of Education in MN

Evictions, Gentrification and Housing Justice w/ Dr. Brittany Lewis

Black Geographies Specialty Group’s Call for Transformative Racial Justice

This statement is an indictment of the business as usual that has proceeded in the wake of persistent white supremacy through policing. The Black Geographies Specialty Group condemns the routine violence of policing in the United States, where the number of people killed by police continuously extends beyond 1,000 people each year. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, James Scurlock, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Marielle Franco, and all other victims of anti-Black, government-sanctioned and extrajudicial violence throughout the world. We write to express our investment in the demands echoed in protests happening across the nation and on a global scale to defund and demilitarize the police.

We appreciate the statements of solidarity from other specialty groups and the American Association of Geographers. We also urge our colleagues to go beyond their statements and work to transform the discipline by addressing its legacies of racism, imperialism, colonialism, homophobia, and sexism. We must support our students and faculty who study these structural issues and call attention to them both in their work and in their everyday experiences. We must also support those in the struggle who are physically resisting these structures in the streets by calling attention to the many forms of anti-Black violence enacted by the police state. 

This moment holds the potential for transformative social change, and the discipline of geography must prepare to engage with the structures of racial capitalism, carceral landscapes, anti-Blackness, and white supremacist policing in spatial studies across the world.  We must continue to make this kind of abolitionist scholarship readily accessible to those who most urgently need it: by acting as public scholars, by removing journal paywalls, and by holding educational institutions accountable to the standards of success in social transformation.

In the interim, we must call attention to the many forms of violence that are produced and reproduced within the academy, from the epistemic violence of co-opting theory from community activists without due credit and erasing Black Geographies scholarship from graduate-level reading lists and undergraduate syllabi to the everyday microaggressions and overt racist harassment of Black scholars. Our colleagues must go beyond “checking in” and truly begin affirming and engaging with Black Geographies and the scholars who produce this vital work.  As Aretina Hamilton writes:

It is a harrowing enterprise that few of my white colleagues will ever understand, even as they lament the injustices — it is clear that a cognitive dissonance occurs. While I am distraught and heartbroken by the thousands upon thousands of Black bodies and others who are being shot down by the military-industrial complex, I find myself experiencing an [existential] crisis as I consider the frequent violence that has been cast upon Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the academy, in graduate school, and yes, in our professional organizations. This violence is often invisible and difficult to comprehend. It may not cause bloodshed or impede your physical mobility. There are no batons or angry, fear-mongering cops with knees on your neck. And yet it is palpable. We feel the pain. It never ceases. It remains contained in our bodies, violently thrashing.

We ask that our colleagues support Black people in whatever ways they can; for instance, through mutual aid (see the BGSG Mutual Aid List) and citational praxes (see the BGSG Reading List). We also accept donations made to the Black Geographies Specialty Group, which will be used to fund student conference travel and other opportunities for young scholars working at the intersections of race, space, and power. We urge our colleagues to mobilize for profound transformations of our discipline and our institutions of higher learning. This includes:

  • Calling on universities and colleges to cut ties with police, following in the steps of the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools;
  • Systematically increasing hiring and promotion of Black faculty;
  • Creating pipelines that will convert diversity postdoctoral fellows into tenure-track faculty;
  • Modifying tenure and promotion decision-making so that the mentorship and service work that faculty of color are disproportionately asked to perform are weighted more heavily;
  • Prioritizing reviews of manuscripts submitted by Black scholars;
  • Dedicating funding to mentorship and support programs for Black undergraduates and graduate students.  

Within and beyond the academy, we must all acknowledge, honor, and continue the work of Black freedom fighters in building worlds of radical transformation and racial justice.

Signed,

 

The Black Geographies Specialty Group Executive Committee

 

Congratulations to the Newest BGSG Executive Board Members

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Congratulations to Dr. Camilla Hawthorne, Muriel Marseille, and April Graham-Jackson!

The Executive Board would also like to thankDr. LaToya Eaves for all of the hard work and effort that was put into making the Black Geographies Specialty Group the community that it is.

Please also consider nominating yourself or someone else for the position of Vice Chair!

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