The Technique Editorial Board would first like to start off by saying that Black lives matter and will always matter. Our organization shares in the anguish and frustration that many of this institution’s Black students are feeling. We stand with and admire those protesting and risking their lives for change. We recognize that we have a responsibility to speak up and speak out for those that have been silenced for centuries. For over 400 years African Americans have had to live in a country that tells them that their very existence is illegal. We recognize that the Black Lives Matter Movement should not be reduced to a hashtag, marketing scheme or a passing trend. We promise to stand vigilant and become more of a safe space for Black students. We will strive to raise up the voices of Black students and be a newspaper that represents all cultures. Tech can oftentimes feel like a bubble of white privilege in the middle of a huge hub of Black culture, but that needs to change. We can no longer celebrate the culture of our institution, while not also crediting Black culture.
As a student-run publication, it is imperative that we look within ourselves and take note of our own shortcomings. It is no secret that Tech is predominately white and in turn, our staff is as well. The lack of Black students in our organization is disturbing and we want to and will change that. We want to be a platform for all students to voice their concerns and frustrations. Black students cannot and should not just feel like they are only apart of the conversation when it is about their suffering. We want to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of Black students and organizations as well. In the past, we recognize that we did not possess the sensitivity and cultural knowledge to accurately report on certain multicultural events. To change this, we will maintain a better rapport with members inside said organizations. Along with creating more inclusive and diverse student spotlights, we will also commit to actively covering more events and stories stemming from Tech’s Black community.
We would like to call on Tech to take the next few actions. First, we would like the Georgia Tech Police Department to answer students’ demands and communicate how they plan to actively work towards mending their poor reputation with Black students. We are disappointed that GTPD did not release any sort of solidarity statement on their active social media platform. Their silence on this issue is deafening, and even more so after many Black students and alumnae spoke out on Twitter about their uncomfortable encounters with GTPD. If their goal is to make students feel safer on campus, the steps they are taking right now are clearly not enough and we hope that they will soon be compelled to break their silence and set out a strategic plan surrounding a commitment to make Black students feel safer in their presence. We would also like to call on our institution to denounce white supremacy and racist rhetoric. Students deserve a more detailed agenda from President Cabrera on how he plans on making Black students feel more welcome on campus. It is not enough to simply acknowledge the pain of Black students and offer no real mitigation moving forward. While there are mentions of increasing the diversity and inclusivity of the Institute within Cabrera’s Strategic Plan, meant to be implemented over the next decade, it is clear that a more immediate plan needs to be created to combat decades of racial discriminaton that continues to permeate our campus through a lack of Black professors, mistreatment of Black staff members, and the significantly low percentage of admitted Black students compared to Atlanta’s large Black population.
As the Technique Editorial Board, we promise to do better by Black students and create a more inclusive environment. We understand that it is not enough to just not be racist. We must be anti-racist and pro-Black. Afterall, this is a movement, not a moment.