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Op-Ed: An Open Letter to the Political Science and International Studies Departments

Dear Political Science and International Studies Department;

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you all, in light of the recent events that have confounded so many students at Emmanuel College and left us at a stand-still. After the news of Ferguson broke, Jeffrey Smith, Director of Multicultural programs, notified students that he would remain in the JYC glass room for the entirety of the day so that students could come and express their initial feelings and responses. As the day progressed, and as some professors cycled their classes in and out to take part of the discussion it became increasingly clear that there needed to be a discussion. The pain, anguish, frustration, and the myriad of other emotions which cannot be put into words permeated all of us then and continues to do so now as we recognize that a circumstance which appears so starkly wrong needs to be debated in order to be proved as such.

It began with Ferguson, continued with Tamir Rice, and emblazoned with Eric Garner: the racial injustices in this country historically and contemporarily perpetuate racial divides that many don’t believe to exist or refuse to acknowledge. For students of color here at Emmanuel, the seemingly continuous news cycle of more and more instances of racial prejudices have resonated with experiences that we have have had all our lives including within our time at this college. However, as I walk from class to class this week trying to focus on final exams, thesis formulation, and papers I am filled with an immense and distracting disappointment at the lack of institutional response. I recognize the delicacy of the matter, suffice to say if conversations on race were easy to have perhaps the black community would have received their 40 acres and a mule long ago. Nonetheless, as an institution of higher education, we students continue to believe that ease has no bearing on the decision to act when wisdom has shown us the difference between the things that we can and cannot change.

I am a political science student, it is not only what I study anymore but who I am. I have been taught by many of you and pushed to question, to evaluate, and to champion for change. And it is as we stand at this climax, that I ask that we use it as an opportunity, as a podium. That we, as the department of political science and international studies, facilitate the discussion that we are by definition designed for. Political science is the business of people, it is the business of fostering functional societies and to not immerse ourselves in something that is not only igniting the nation but the campus community as a whole would be irresponsible.

I am more than willing to assist in any capacity to make this happen, as throughout all of this more hurtful than ignorance and intolerance has been silence.

Thank you for your time,

Kyéra Sterling
Emmanuel College’ 15
Model United Nations, Treasurer
Political Science & International Studies Department

Posted by on December 8, 2014. Filed under Opinions & Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.