To our students:
In light of recent conversations regarding Dr. Abdullah’s Keynote at the Diversity Symposium, and rooted in our collective missions to serve marginalized students at CSU, we felt compelled to address the unintended impact this is having on our students. Doing intersectional social justice work is complicated and layered. The unfortunate divisive nature of the conversations can make it easy to view things as binary, but that would erase your stories. Our intentions here are twofold: To uplift that our oppressions are connected; we do a disservice when we only focus on a single oppressed identity in our activism. And, to encourage the community to do the collective work of critical listening, questioning, information gathering, and discourse needed to dismantle systems of dominance and oppression.
We want to begin by denouncing anti-Black, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Muslim rhetoric and acknowledge that white supremacy impacts all of our communities. A core tenant of white supremacy is to pit marginalized groups against each other. Not only do these conversations drive wedges among marginalized communities, they also erase the experiences of those who exist at the intersections of these multiple identities, such as Jewish students of color. This goes against the work that we, Student Diversity Programs and Services and Academic Advancement Center, stand for. Antisemitic work can be used as a shield to promote white supremacy. Anti-racist work can be used to promote patriarchy, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. If we don’t do our due diligence to understand how to fight for our collective humanity and liberation, then we will do more harm than good.
We want to call attention to the documented history of deliberate, malicious misinformation created and disseminated about social justice activists. Listening to and supporting the most marginalized folx is a tenant of fighting oppression. Learning to hold the impact of multiple oppressions within conversations like this is critical to dismantling systems of whiteness and dominance. This collective work IS the path to social justice. Fighting oppression also includes pushing everyone, and ourselves, to recognize our gaps in knowledge, seek understanding, and then act. Part of acting includes criticism of authority in the spirit of engaged, inclusive discourse. To ignore or reject criticism when in a position of power is to abuse power.
We hope the humans who make up the CSU community adhere to the Principles of Community and hold ourselves accountable through our words and our actions. We invite you to move beyond binary ways of thinking and knowing, and engage in critical, intersectional social justice work for our collective liberation. Please know that our own learning as people and leading the student cultural and resource centers are here to support you all; and we are continually working to make sure we provide programs and resources that support and affirm your multiple identities.
The Academic Advancement Center
The Student Diversity Programs and Services Cluster