We are sharing this letter, a follow up to the open letter sent to the Joint Council on July 24, with India Pierce’s permission.
About a week or so ago I, with the support of a number of POC UC graduate students, sent an open letter to the union to express my concerns with their hiring of a full time organizer position, to make explicit my hiring preference, and most importantly to bring to light the ways that I feel the union has failed to center the voices of the Black community and develop a relationship with Black organizers at the UCs.
That letter has been met with silence. Within that silence I am reminded that challenging people to acknowledge anti-blackness as a building block of our society makes people deeply uncomfortable.
Letters like the one I have sent often create in people defensiveness or guilt.
I have no use for either.
I have no desire to be invited to tables to brainstorm about how to help folks help themselves.
I do not want excuses.
I do not want healing circles.
I do not want deflections.
I want action.
I want to be clear in saying that the lack of response to my letter will not silence my voice. Audre Lorde teaches me that,
I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it becomes no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet, all too often guilt is just another name of impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection of changelessness.Audre Lorde
The union must face the uncomfortable truth of the culture of anti-blackness that plagues our nation and this organization. Then it must begin the hard and tedious but necessary work to create a union that truly is FOR US ALL.
In love & light,