Duke BLSA Statement on Charlottesville – 8.14.17

Dear Duke Law Community,



As many of you may have seen on the news or via social media, Charlottesville, VA was recently overrun by a large-scale display of hate, violence and ignorance by white nationalists. In the aftermath of this event one individual died and fourteen others were injured. In the wake of a Donald Trump presidency, these mass displays of hateful rhetoric steeped in stereotyping and fear have become increasingly common as white supremacists become comfortable verbalizing and acting upon hateful ideologies. Thus, remaining apolitical is not an option.

It is important that we as law students at a top law school appreciate that we are in pursuit of a degree that confers a high degree of privilege and power. Therefore, it is important that we understand that as a part of the Duke Law community, remaining silent is not an option and we do have a responsibility to stifle the spread of hate. If we choose not to speak up in the face of Nazi and KuKluxKlan opposition we are choosing to empower violent racism. As Black students, we do not have this option. Our very presence at Duke Law and in the legal profession is political. We do not have the luxury of ignoring moments where white supremacy is aiming to intimidate.

Unfortunately, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, ableism, transphobia and other forms of hate and bigotry are not extinct. It is our hope that those who wish to be considered allies realize that they occupy an important place in this fight. Defeating hate and racism starts in individual homes and communities. Challenging stereotypes, speaking up when racial slurs are used, and stepping in when threats of physical violence are at play are all ways that allies can assist in dismantling white supremacy. Indeed, allies are highly effective when they are vigilant in the fight against racism in both public and private spaces.

The events in Charlottesville have shown us that we must continue to have conversations regarding race and privilege. Duke Law BLSA is fully engaged in finding ways to facilitate open dialogue and challenge closed-minded thinking in the law school and in our professional spaces. We hope that the other student organizations, faculty, and staff will stand with us by acknowledging that racism remains a threat and that #BlackLivesMatter.

We also understand that events such as these can result in lasting trauma for those directly and indirectly affected. Duke Law BLSA encourages all persons negatively affected by the events in Charlottesville to seek out any and all necessary support or mental health services as we cope with this event.


In Solidarity,

Duke Law Black Law Students Association

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