Advocating for Black Equity, Striving for Racial Justice
June 5, 2020
Dear SOC students, colleagues, alumni and friends:
In the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola: “If our church is not marked by caring for the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, we are guilty of heresy.”
In the Loyola School of Communication, while we mourn George Floyd and grieve for him with his family and the nation, we are outraged by the endless losses of Black lives and the endless pain to Black Americans caused by systemic inequality, injustice and brutality.
As we all know, racial justice for Black people has been an arduous battle. The tragic losses of George Floyd’s and other Black Americans’ lives recently sparked, stimulated and inspired a stronger sense of urgency for immediate and sustained actions toward true and full justice for Black people.
The pain, the grief and the anger are not just felt in Minneapolis, in our home city of Chicago and in other cities and townships across the country; they are also felt right in our own SOC community. It is time for action to eradicate the rampant racism and discrimination that oppress Black Americans.
As an academic community firmly committed to the values of Jesuit spirituality, social justice and the First Amendment, to fight against discrimination towards Black Americans and strive for racial justice are a divine mission and a higher calling for us all in the SOC, and for me personally and professionally.
I sincerely apologize for the belatedness of this message I am sharing with you now.
Here are my commitments to you:
- I will continue to meet with my colleagues, our students and our alumni to hear of their needs, concerns and ideas about racial justice and Black equity particularly.
- I will continue to work with the SOC Diversity Committee closely to support its leadership in diversity, inclusion and equity for our school, with Black equity as a top priority.
- I will collaborate with the diversity experts in our school, sibling programs on campus and professional organizations in the field of communication to engage our faculty, staff and students in antiracism and antibias trainings and workshops.
- I will make Black faculty and staff hiring a top priority in future recruitment for the school.
- I will augment the school’s support to innovations in teaching, research, mentoring, community engagement and extracurricular activities that contribute to and advocate for racial justice and Black equity.
- I will make racial justice and Black equity a top priority in the school’s upcoming five-year plan, and articulate clear, actionable and measurable strategies and plans for these goals.
I am honored and humbled to work with you all to continue to advocate and strive for racial justice and Black equity immediately and in the coming years. With this message, I am inviting, encouraging and urging you to join me for the fulfillment of this urgent mission.
Together, we will continue to make the SOC a great place for learning, work and growth for all, especially for Black students, faculty and staff. Together, we will continue to grow generations of communication professionals and scholars, who have the empathy, enthusiasm and expertise for building a nation with true and full racial justice and Black equity.
Together in Loyola SOC,
Hong Cheng, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
School of Communication
Loyola University Chicago