Statement on Racial Injustice from SEA

July 2, 2020

This is SEA’s second statement on Black Lives Matter.  We listened to many alumni and staff who told us that our first statement failed to rise to the level of the crisis engulfing our nation. Thank you to those who reached out for helping us do better.

We offer a full-throated endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement. We acknowledge and condemn the long history of violence directed at Black people in the United States. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer exposes, yet again, the brutal and systemic violence upon which the edifice of racial injustice in the US has been grounded since the seventeenth century.  It is important to name the victims of this system of oppression. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Sandra Bland are tragically just the recent examples of Black people who have been killed by police. We remember too Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, James Chaney, Emmett Till, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., Laura Nelson, Mary Turner and countless other Black victims who died not at the hands of police but of white citizens enacting the violence of racial oppression.

All of these victims, named and countless more unnamed, followed centuries of chattel slavery that has left an indelible stain on our past. They are who matter. African Americans who live in the shadow of that violence, actual and implied, are who matter. This statement is intended to offer our unequivocal acknowledgement of that history of persecution and the violence that has been inflicted on Black bodies as a central tool of that oppression.

How will SEA respond to this moment beyond this statement of support and solidarity for Black Lives Matter initiatives as well as the broader set of movements of people of color working to undo the system of white privilege in the United States? First, we acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do. We have to challenge our own organizational culture as well as work to combat the racial inequalities embedded in the educational system in which we participate. Here are the specific steps that we will take moving forward:

  • We are committed to pursuing a more diverse faculty, staff, crew, and governing board until our community looks like the United States as a whole, because it is the right thing to do and because it will make SEA a better, more complete institution, while also greatly enhancing the delivery of our educational mission to all students.
  • We recommit to expanding our recruitment of underrepresented students by increasing our financial commitment to scholarship opportunities for students of color and by deepening our connections to colleges and universities that are dedicated to serving those students.
  • We are committed to continue the process of decolonizing our pedagogical practices by incorporating more works of Black, Indigenous and people of color as well as by partnering more fully with scholars, activists and organizations based in places we visit regularly.
  • We commit to identifying and correcting our unconscious biases. We commit to seeking more opportunities to educate ourselves as an institution and as a partner in the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative.
  • Finally, we pledge to enhance our transparency on issues of diversity in both our employees as well as our student population by making this information readily available on our website. It is this transparency that holds institutions accountable, and we plan to be accountable.

Contact: Douglas Karlson, Director of Communications | 508-444-1918 | |

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