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Guidance on making statements in support of Black community members

This guidance is for faculty and staff who want to publicly make a statement in solidarity and support of our Black community members. If your department, organization, or affinity group wants to make a statement to publicize your support but is not sure how to go about it or what to say, this document is for you.

What: A statement can be a few paragraphs or just a few sentences. People are most likely to read messages that are short and clear. A statement can include:

  • An affirmation that you are in solidarity with or in support of Black students, faculty, and staff
  • A commitment to UMBC’s values
  • A statement disavowing structural racism and/or white supremacy
  • A statement about your values as a department/organization/profession
  • Encouragement for non-Black members of the community to do work to educate themselves
  • Resources for recipients of your message to use in order to educate themselves
  • Details about what your department/organization is doing to continue to support Black community members and support the education and development of those who are not Black

When: It is important to balance speed and thoughtfulness. If you choose to publish a message, compose it with care and vet it with your stakeholders. At the same time, acting quickly is also important to indicate care and support.

How: There is no one “right” way to make a statement. Here are tips that can help guide you in crafting your message:

  • Say what you mean. Readers value direct language. Consider the most direct ways to name the communities and issues you are addressing.
  • Draw from institutional resources, such as UMBC’s mission and vision, and existing UMBC and USM statements.
  • Offer concrete examples of what your group is doing to address structural racism, how you are planning to move forward, and what support you can offer.
  • Avoid using ableist language such as “stand with,” “crazy,” “insane,” or “blind.”
  • Avoid giving political opinions or commentary. This should be a short message affirming your support and leaning on the foundational values we share as a community.
  • Avoid putting the labor of crafting and reviewing messages onto Black community members. We have the tools we need to make strong and powerful statements.

Where: Post your message where it will resonate most. This might be through an email list, on myUMBC, or on social media.

Recent statements to review as examples: