The American Men’s Studies Association stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives, and with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color individuals and communities across the United States and around the world in condemning historical and ongoing acts of racial violence by police and individuals who benefit from the implicit and explicit support of police and other state agents.
As an organization dedicated to the critical study of men and masculinities, we also recognize the extent to which acts of racial violence, particularly on the part of police and other state actors and institutions, are symptoms of the United States’ history of racism, white supremacy, and hetero-masculine patriarchal structures.
AMSA is clear and open in our critique of systems of oppression and their link to problematic constructions and expressions of masculinities, as articulated in our organizational mission and values, including our values of:
- Supporting and encouraging research by scholars considering the complexities of gender, including minority, first-generation, people with disabilities, and other scholars who are members of historically oppressed groups and affirming the integration of academia with activism, clinical practice, and art.
- Seeking the participation and membership of all individuals irrespective of gender identity, race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, nationality, or religious identity.
- Committing to social justice struggles for historically oppressed groups.
We recognize our history and current reality as a predominantly White male organization, both in membership and in leadership, that has often fallen short in addressing issues of racial justice. Through both action and inaction, we have done harm. We believe these matters must be addressed in sustained practice and consistently, rather than through singular solutions or resolutions.
Meeting this charge will require having difficult dialogues, but more importantly, disrupting the systemic inequities that exist. We must strongly disavow racism and other injustices, and challenge ourselves, both individually and collectively, to grow if our vision to transform lives through leadership and innovation is to come to fruition.
While we to stand in solidarity with those impacted by the history of racial violence that has been most recently amplified by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and countless others, we also recognize that words alone will not suffice – clear, measurable, and direct action on the part of AMSA is needed.
To this end, AMSA’s Board of Directors is committed to putting our stated values into action as an organization in the following ways:
- Undertaking an organizational audit aimed at identifying aspects of AMSA’s structure that support discriminatory practices or further the marginalization of oppressed peoples;
- Form a task force charged with and empowered to implement organizational reforms based in findings of audit;
- Develop explicitly anti-racist organizational policies and practices;
- Lift up and center the voices and work of BIPOC colleagues through the AMSA conference, website, newsletter, and other publications;
- Work with BIPOC colleagues, communities, and organizations to develop and implement accountability structures for AMSA;
- Call out racialized violence in all of its forms, including our own complicity as an organization;
- Advocate for and prioritize mentorship and professional development opportunities for BIPOC faculty, students, and practitioners among our membership;
- Speak up and actively intervene when individuals and organizations in men’s studies gaslight, ignore, or sideline conversations regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and race.
AMSA invites you all as colleagues to engage with us in this work and hold us accountable to these commitments. We also invite you to support similar work in your own organizations and institutions. We as an organization urge you to think about the ways we might support each other in these difficult and troubling times. In this regard, we offer some suggestions to consider below:
- Listen to and learn about/from the concerns and experiences of others, particularly people from marginalized communities;
- Educate yourself about the history and ongoing legacy of systematic racism in this nation, and its connection to other forms of injustice;
- Use your individual voice, influence, and/or privilege to challenge and change systems of injustice—be it in the college, or beyond;
- Critically reflect on your own biases, assumptions, and narratives;
- Call out institutional and interpersonal racism whenever you see it;
- Check in with your BIPOC colleagues and friends in particular, and ask what support looks like for them;
- Recognize that if you are experiencing trauma there are support systems in place to help you;
- Be humble.
AMSA Urges its Members to Support Local Organizations in the Fight for Racial Justice in Their Communities
For those with the means, please consider the following opportunities to donate or identify organizations in your own community that could use your support:
- Community Justice Exchange has compiled a large list of bail funds across the country
- Afrobizworld.com is a comprehensive list of Black owned businesses in Africa, the US, Canada, and Europe. Support Black owned businesses in your community
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice…
- Innocence Project exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustices
- The Marshall Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system
- Know Your Rights Camp’s mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities
- Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice…
- Black Visions Collective (BLVC) believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in right relationship within our ecosystems
- Black and Pink was founded in 2005 on the principles of abolition to dismantle the criminal punishment system and to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system…
- Trans Justice Funding Project is a community-led funding initiative founded in 2012 to support grassroots, trans justice groups run by and for trans people
- LGBTQ Freedom fund posts bail to secure the safety and liberty of individuals in U.S. jails and immigration facilities
- Black AIDS Institute’s mission is to stop the AIDS epidemic in Black communities
- MIGIZI acts as a circle of support that nurtures the development of Native American youth in order to unleash their creativity and dreams – to benefit themselves, their families and community. MIGIZI was burned and damaged during Minneapolis protests and is working hard to rebuild.
- Reclaim the Block began in 2018 and organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
Thank you to AMSA Board members and the Associated Students of the University of Washington Tacoma (ASUWT) for compiling these resources.