United Against Racism

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Dear Friends,

We have news that's hard to share with you.

Late last week, black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania received a group text under the title "N-er Lynching." They were harassed with images of lynching and other threats of violence. The University of Pennsylvania is working with the FBI to investigate and have identified at least one individual from the University of Oklahoma involved. [1]

On Thursday, a black student at Villanova University was attacked by a group of white men yelling "Trump." The student suffered a head injury. Villanova and the Radnor Police Department are investigating the incident.[2]

A swastika and a warning that "if Trump wins, watch out" were scrawled in a Bucks County high school bathroom. [3]

During the eighteen months leading up to the 2016 election, there was an escalation of hate toward immigrants, Muslims, people of color, women, the disabled, and LGBTQ folks. Trump's victory has elevated this hate to a new level. The attack on black students alerts us that college campuses and educational institutions are not immune to violence and hate, indeed, may be especially targeted. We cannot accept this. Not in our universities, not in our communities.

Now more than ever we must organize, talk with each other, and continue to build communities of strength and care. As teachers we are leaders, and we have more power than we know. Now is the time for us to exercise that power.

As an immediate response, please take a minute to sign and share this statement of support for students at Penn, Villanova, and on campuses across the city letting them know their faculty support them and will not tolerate hate and white supremacy.

You can also find ways to support students in the classroom. Offer time and resources to help them process. Be explicit in our classrooms that the way we overcome this is by standing together, and by summarily rejecting white supremacy and hate in all its forms.

Together, we are stronger than we are as individuals.

In solidarity,
Wende Marshall and Melissa DeGezelle
Co-Chairs, Racial Justice Committee
United Academics of Philadephia

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[1] Dent, Mark. (2016, November 11) ‘N—er Lynching’ group text shocks Penn freshmen. http://billypenn.com/2016/11/11/n-er-lynching-group-text-shocks-penn-freshmen/.

[2] Chang, David. (2016, November 12) Black Villanova Student Says Group of Men Attacked Her While Yelling ‘Trump.’ http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Villanova-University-Reported-Attack-Race-Student-Trump-400964815.html.

[3] McCrone, Brian and Gyllenhaal, Randy. (2016, November 10) Hate Speech in Bucks County High School's Bathrooms Prompts Letter to Parents. http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Hate-Speech-in-Bucks-County-High-Schools-Bathrooms-Prompts-Letter-to-Parents-Council-Rock-Newtown-Parents-400726371.html.