In response to the verdict by a grand jury on Breonna Taylor’s case Wednesday, Illinois State University Interim Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion Doris Houston sent an email to the ISU community about the stance of the college on the case.
Houston addresses the national crisis of police brutality against Black people in the United States as well as how the university stands against the ordeal.
She began the letter by relating to the incident with Taylor, noting she could have been a daughter, a niece, or a student to her, empathizing with the pain her death has triggered among Taylor’s family and the nation as a whole.
"It pains me to address our campus community in response to the relentless acts of violence against Black women and men with the most recent centering around 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, whose life was cut short with careless disregard and with little or no consequence," Houston said.
"Breonna, a young Black woman with her future ahead of her, could have easily been my daughter, my niece, or a student in my classroom. The grand jury decision surrounding her death makes us ask once again, do Black lives really matter?"
Houston also recognizes the chaos surrounding the various disparities present during the current pandemic. She adamantly advises recipients to take a stand against the odds and support worthy causes.
She provides clarity as a representative of ISU while encouraging change and unity. As she states, it takes a collective and devout effort to spark new beginnings.
“As our nation faces the unyielding challenge of a health pandemic compounded by racial division and economic disparities, I call on each member of our ISU community to take a stand for Black lives," Houston said.
"Take a stand for justice and equality for those who have been marginalized, ostracized, and systematically sidelined from the American Dream.”
There are several organizations across campus and the community where the ability to support and influence the future are available.
Houston offers a host of possibilities, including the Culturally Responsive Campus Community Conference on Oct. 29-30, the Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning, voting in the upcoming election and through the initiative to educate oneself and others.
The full email can be read below.