In Response to the Brutal Arrest of Martese Johnson - from the Woodson Institute

21 March 2015


We—the faculty, faculty affiliates, students, fellows, and staff—of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies express our outrage at the brutal arrest of third-year student Martese Johnson by agents of the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Department.  We want you to know that we share the frustrations and pain expressed by the broader black student community.  We want you to know that we stand steadfast with you, our students, in your desire to create a just, inclusive and socially conscious university. 


We are well aware that many of our students are also calling on the Woodson Institute for greater support. As faculty members, we want to assure you that we remain resolute in our mission and that we remain faithful to longstanding principles anchoring the Black Studies tradition.  Our commitment to these principles often operates outside the public eye.  But while our advocacy may not always be visible, rest assured that it expresses itself on various fronts.  Moreover, that advocacy is always motivated by our fundamental desire to support you while advancing the broader imperatives and legacies of Black Studies.


In these times when anti-black violence, whether physical, psychological or intellectual, wracks and divides our nation and finds a home at our very University and its back door, it is critical that we work together to unify our fractured community.  Such unity begins with mutual respect, dialogue and cooperation.  We invite our students to partner with us in our quest for healing and justice.  We will be working diligently in the upcoming weeks on action items to repair our community.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us, to let us know how we can best support you at this terrible time.  Our doors are open.

Monday, March 23, 2015