The tragic murder of George Floyd happened one year ago this week. His death followed and was preceded by the deaths of countless other black men and women at the hands of police. In the wake of this tragedy last year, members of the Columbia University Psychology Department sent a letter asking, “what can we do now – as individuals, a department, a university, an academic discipline – to contribute to making Black Lives Matter in reality rather than simply in rhetoric.” To begin the conversation, they highlighted areas of focus for meaningful change, which we reference throughout this document.
A year later, we are taking an opportunity to look back at the steps that members of the Psychology Department have taken to begin to address these suggested areas of focus. While these steps are the David to the Goliath of structural racism and oppression, they represent our humble commitment to educate ourselves, to be better in the pursuit of interrupting and dismantling academic exclusionary practices, and to pursue social justice.
This link here will take you to a document that offers a sample of the ongoing efforts. The hard work is just beginning. In this report on activities from the past year, we especially highlight suggested focus areas from our departmental letter last year that we intend to work on in 2021-2022.