While for some this moment of uprising that has spread to over 700 cities and towns in the US and in cities in the Global North and South might be a surprise; for us who have been oppressed, murdered, exploited, and disproportionately affected by poverty, Covid 19, infant and maternal mortality, and more, it is not. As James Baldwin penned in 1966, writing on a 1964 Harlem police murder and uprising, it is simply the overflow of the “unimaginably bitter cup” of four hundred years of trauma and pain. To quote Toni Morrison, who was asked the question about “riots” in 1992 after the beating of Rodney King, “What struck me most about those who rioted was how long they waited. The restraint they showed. Not the spontaneity, the restraint. They waited and waited for justice and it didn’t come. No one talks about that.”
At this moment, we at the ACSJL are the Black students, the Black faculty and the Black staff at Kalamazoo College. We are the Black communities of the city and county of Kalamazoo and the region of southwest Michigan. We are the black comrades who visit the Center from within and across national and continental borders. We are those who love us and are prepared to show that love with actions not platitudes. While letters, statements, and videos of support are welcome, they mean little without action….