The American experience has entailed an ongoing systematic devaluing of black lives, including 240 years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow laws, and the last 55 years of racialized discrimination, profiling, and violence. Black people have resisted the devaluing of black lives by continually challenging America to live up to its founding principles that all people are created equal. The Black Lives Matter movement is one more example of black people demanding that America demonstrate that black lives have as much value as all other lives. A systemic devaluing of black lives is a denial and affront to the ideal that all lives matter. A refusal to affirm and demonstrate that “Black Lives Matter” is a refusal to affirm the ideal that all lives matter.
As an academic community founded in 1861 in protest to a theological justification of slavery, Luther College is a community rooted in the belief that black lives matter. As members and friends of this community, we pledge our participation in a nearly 400 year struggle to oppose all forms of racialized violence against black people in America and to work to demonstrate that black lives matter because we believe ALL lives do matter. And ALL lives will not matter until Black Lives Matter.
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