Declaration of Our Commitment to Racial Justice

We have been shaken by the recent horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, our fellow Kentuckians Breonna Taylor and David McAtee, and far too many others in our Black communities who have been murdered by police. These brutal deaths are a cruel reminder of the deep-seated and systemic anti-Black racism that has stained this country and our global community for far too long. June 5, 2020 would have been Breonna Taylor's 27th birthday. Taylor was a student at University of Kentucky in 2011. We grieve with the families of the victims of racist violence and stand in solidarity with the many people who have been targets of racialized violence and suffered the trauma such violence inflicts on individuals, communities, and neighborhoods. We condemn any and all racist violence and police brutality and ask that the University of Kentucky review its financial relationships with the Lexington Police Department and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
 
As a department, we pledge to do better by our students, colleagues, and our wider community. To this end, we re-commit to our earlier pledge* to fund at least one graduate student from an underrepresented group and an international student from the Global South each year. We also intend to pay closer attention to increasing the number of underrepresented students who major and minor in geography at the undergraduate level. We commit to strengthening our ties to African American and Africana Studies (AAAS)  and to expanding our research cluster and courses in Black Geographies as soon as we can hire, and we commit to offering at least three courses per year on race/ethnicity, racism, and incarceration or other racial/racist politics or racial justice. 
 
We pledge to substantially increase the share of faculty of color in our department over the next five years, and to fully support and mentor our current untenured colleagues so they may successfully gain tenure and promotion. We will continue to discuss ways to ensure that our scholarship reaches beyond the walls of the academy, and that these efforts count in how we evaluate scholarship. In the meantime, we will continue our anti-racist work in the discipline and our everyday departmental lives to reduce the microaggressions and aggressions of whiteness and white privilege. We know that this is hard work, which requires we turn our lens inward and reckon with how we are individually and as a department complicit in maintaining the very same status quo that we seek to upend. While we are a part of the problem, we also intend to be a part of the solution and will collaborate with other entities on campus to increase the presence, voices, and visibility of faculty, students, and staff that too often remain silenced/marginalized.
 
Included below are department resources:
 
McCutcheon, P. and E. Kohl. 2019. “You’re not welcome at my table: racial discourse, conflict and healing at the kitchen table.” Gender, Place and Culture. 26(2): 173-180. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2018.1552927
 
McCutcheon, P. 2016. The 'radical' Welcome Table: faith, social justice, and the spiritual geography of Mother Emanuel in Charleston, South Carolina. Southeastern Geographer. 56(1): 16-21. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/612519
 
McCutcheon, P. “Homesick: reflections on the events surrounding Trayvon Martin.” Antipode Online. November 7th, 2013. https://antipodeonline.org/2013/11/07/intervention-symposium-reflections-on-the-events-surrounding-trayvon-martin/
 
Pelot-Hobbs, L. “Alton Sterling and Police Impunity in Louisiana.” Verso. July 11, 2016. https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/2769-alton-sterling-and-police-impunity-in-louisiana
 
Schein, R. 2018. “After Charlottesville: Reflections on landscape, hegemony and white supremacy.” Southeastern Geographer. 58(1): 10-13. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26409152?seq=2#metadata_info_tab_contents
 
Schein, R. (ed.) 2006. Landscape and Race in the United States. New York: Routledge Books. https://www.routledge.com/Landscape-and-Race-in-the-United-States/Schein/p/book/9780415949958
 
University of Kentucky, Department of Geography Mapshop Community Atlas: https://newmaps.as.uky.edu/community-atlas
 
*Concerned Group on Race and Geography, 2000, Call for Direct Action Now on Race in U.S. and Canadian Geography, Department Pledge.
 
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