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Antiracism Action Statement

BYU Department of Sociology Action Statement

We mourn the racist and unconstitutional murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd by police and vigilantes, and the violence faced by Black Americans. We express our profound godly sorrow and proclaim in the spirit of the Gospel and in solidarity that Black lives matter—all Black lives, including Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Brigham Young University.

The discipline of sociology leads us to the conclusion that, to end centuries of abuse of Black people and reduce racial inequality in material wealth, we must change the structure of our society. Our BYU community, including the Sociology department, is no exception to the need for these changes. We declare humbly that, even though the Sociology department at BYU is a home to Black undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty, including Black student leaders, we can and will do better. We can and will do more.

We pledge the following actions:

  • Learning our complete racial history is the truth that must set us free, as Jesus taught, to take action. We will continue to provide evidence and push for a rigorous anti-racism general education course requirement from a set of options across disciplines that all BYU students must take in order to graduate. In the meantime, we will find new ways to expand our own course on race and antiracism to meet increased student demand.
  • We will transform our major by further incorporating the theoretical and empirical contributions of Black American founding sociologists W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells- Barnett. While Black scholars figure prominently in our introductory, race, gender, urban, methods, and cultural courses, we will not only cover more work by Black scholars in our syllabi, we will also transform our teaching by highlighting the neglected role of Black scholars and providing more focused attention to anti-racist perspectives. We will seek help from Black professors and leaders from the university, local, and national community to inform our efforts, and we will compensate them for their work.
  • While Sociology is a uniquely diverse and welcoming major at BYU, we will increase our effort to recruit and retain Black students, and contribute to their academic success by increasing funding for Black students as TAs, RAs, scholarship recipients, and graduate students. We will expand how we recognize Black students for the contributions they make, such as mentoring other students of color, leadership on campus, and original scholarship. We commit to better supporting the post-graduate study, employment, and success of all our Black graduates, regardless of whether they pursue a career at BYU, in sociology, or outside academia. We will report annually on our progress.
  • We will dedicate substantially more funding as a department and call on our alumni, our college, and BYU to significantly increase financial support for BYU Black Alumni Society scholarships, fully paid leadership opportunities for Black students, the BYU Black Student Union, Africana Studies, the FHSS Winter Civil Rights Seminar on the Black Freedom Struggle, and any other immediate support of Black students and graduates.

June 2020