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Trying to learn. Trying to do better:
statement of solidarity against racism

5 June 2020

On our empty physical campus, the main window of the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute still proudly displays the words of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru:

"A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for progress, for the adventure of ideas and for the search for truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards even higher objectives. If the universities discharge their duty adequately, then it is well with the nation and the people." Jawaharlal Nehru, December 1947

The window was installed in January 2020 in response to the politically-motivated attacks on the students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. These appalling acts of violence were just the latest manifestation of an escalating crisis in India. As shocking as the events in India were, they were sadly not exceptional.

The window is an act of solidarity. A show of support to those facing discrimination, intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, and violence worldwide.

Six months later, as we watch events unfold in the United States, Nehru’s words once again ring true. Today, more than ever, we need humanism, tolerance, and reason. We need ideas and the search for truth. We need universities to discharge their duty adequately.

The brutal killing of George Floyd by the police was a tragedy. It has revealed gross inadequacies in political leadership. It is also a horrific reminder of the unacceptable racism, discrimination, and inequality that exist not only in the United States, but globally.

This is not a new problem. George Floyd’s death has focused international attention on centuries of intolerance and oppression. On overt racism, as well as the more subtle and pervasive prejudices that endure. It is the duty of the university to confront these uncomfortable realities, to provide forums for meaningful debate and productive discussion, and to search for ways to create fairer, more inclusive societies.

As we try to process what is happening right now, the Trinity Long Room Hub community is listening and reflecting. Trying to learn. Trying to do better.

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