The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) community is outraged by the senseless murders of Breonna Taylor, Amaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. We recognize that their deaths are not isolated, and we are saddened that there are so many more victims of systemic racial injustice and police abuse of power in the United States, and around the world. Our indignation carries over to the countless number of African-Americans who have died violently by the hands of those in the United States who feel empowered and justified in doing so. For far too long, the very power structures that are expected to serve and protect, have enabled unwarranted death and fostered fear, particularly among African-Americans.
As the United States continues to witness these injustices, it is with solemn hearts that we speak out against the repeated occurrences of violence and murders of African-Americans. The murder and physical abuse of members of racialized and marginalized groups in the United States must cease. U.S. institutions and practices must uphold the country’s founding principle of “liberty and justice for all.”
As an organization that mobilizes scholars, policymakers, and other members of the community for collaboration on significant urban issues, the UAA cannot sit idly by as persistent and systemic racism continues to take lives. The Urban Affairs Association stands firm in its commitment to move forward in shaping a just and sustainable world through research and action. It is our responsibility to speak up and to speak out against these injustices, as well as to both encourage and engage in activities that promote justice and equitable treatment.
Internally, the Urban Affairs Association has a longstanding and continued engagement in research and professional initiatives, led by our membership, that focus on race and ethnic inequalities and justice. The recent 2019 UAA conference track on Race, Ethnicity and Place in Los Angeles, and the 2020 launch of our new Journal of Race, Ethnicity and the City are examples of our determination to go beyond supportive statements, into actions that directly broaden research and policy advocacy. Externally, our organization is supportive of proposed U.S. federal legislation that seeks to stop the ability of individuals, systems, and/or policies to bring further hurt or harm to people and that establishes a new model of public safety.
The UAA will continue to advance our mission to “create interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life” by bringing to the forefront both national and local efforts that confront racial inequality and promote social justice. We support movements aimed at eradicating injustices in the U.S. and every part of the world. Civil and human rights should never be a function of race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, identity, age, mobility, or any other socially constructed label aimed at division and/or exclusion.
Over the summer, the Governing Board and Executive Office will engage our community members in discussions to identify specific steps that our organization can enact as an active advocacy body to address systemic racism and social injustice. In the fall, we will issue a follow-up statement summarizing the initiatives we will launch. Your support and engagement in these discussions are critically important as we seek to advance racial justice and equitable treatment for all.
Dr. Thomas J. Vicino, UAA Governing Board Chair (on behalf of the UAA Board)
Dr. Margaret Wilder, UAA Executive Director (on behalf of the Executive Office)