We at the Kroc Institute are following the new wave of protest and riots for racial justice that are now engulfing American cities and we join the call for action in response. We are again reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words that “riots do not develop out of thin air.” In the United States, riots, although destructive and counterproductive, have erupted on the fertile ground of racial violence and discrimination against African Americans, discrimination that goes back to early White settler colonial practices. In the last few weeks, we have watched with sorrow and frustration as incidents in Georgia, Kentucky, New York City, and now in Minneapolis have brought to the fore again the inexcusable, incomprehensible prejudice and violence against African Americans and, in particular, against African American men.
Two years ago at the Kroc Institute we made a strategic commitment to make the study of race, gender, and class and the structural injustices surrounding them in the United States and around the world a central focus of our teaching, research, and public outreach. This commitment has only been strengthened by the events in recent days. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, people of color, in their ongoing struggle for justice, a struggle stretching over hundreds of years, and join our voices in the demand for their natural right to live in safety and with dignity in the United States.
"A riot is the language of the unheard,” said King. Our commitment at the Kroc Institute is to use our educational platforms to give voice to the unheard so that race, gender and class dynamics of violence and injustice are integrated into our curricula and become mobilizers for constructive change among our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and broader community.
John M. Regan, Jr. Director
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies