To the Wake Forest Community,

These should be busy, joyous days, as we prepare to join together as a university community for the official start of a new academic year. Instead, these are moments of uncertainty, anxiety, grief, fear, anger, exhaustion, and other emotions which have yet to surface in our individual and collective experiences.

Acknowledging this, and charged with transforming the ethos of Wake Forest University into clear practices with meaningful social justice outcomes, the Pro Humanitate Institute has a clear message: you are not alone; we are in this together. Classes are not in session, but we are here; the work of PHI continues in preparation for your return.

Central to our work is articulating our shared values. To be clear, PHI and the Anna Julia Cooper Center denounce white supremacy, racism, bigotry, and violence. We do not support its enactment in the present or its celebration in the past. We do not equivocate in the face of violent and deadly acts, like those by white supremacists on the grounds of the University of Virginia and in the city of Charlottesville. Nor will we cower in the face of threats to bring these acts of domestic terrorism to North Carolina, ever closer to our own beloved campus. We stand in the same values we have previously and publicly declared. Our university motto, Pro Humanitate, for humanity, requires a commitment to human flourishing and service to humanity, which is wholly inconsistent with anything short of dismantling racism and pursuing equity for all persons in our community.

These values are fully consistent with our continuing commitment to a full and free exchange of ideas and the value of diverse experiences. At PHI/AJC, we have worked to create structures that allow the expression of multiple viewpoints, and will continue to do so without apology.

This work is hard work, but we are here to do it alongside one another – not expecting perfection, but allowing each other to fall and fail; remembering the journey is long, and we will need each other. Universities have a key role to play in this work as conveners, facilitators, and thought leaders. We believe our little university is among the best – not because we are perfect, but because we have the courage to try.

To that end, we are planning a few events:

– On September 5 & 6, the Humanities Institute and Pro Humanitate Institute will co-host a “teach-in,” in which faculty members will select texts, some from the Charlottesville Syllabus, and lead small group discussions. More details about how to register soon.

– On September 7 at 6:00 p.m., we will host a public panel in Wait Chapel, moderated by Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, on race, politics, and the South.

– Following the panel, we will offer student-facilitated small group discussions from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Please save the dates! In addition, if you have a programming idea, please reach out to Marianne Magjuka (magjukmg@wfu.edu). We are committed to working together, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Best,

Kaylan Baxter
Fahim Gulamali
Melissa Harris-Perry
Marianne Magjuka
Demi McCoy
Dani Parker-Moore
Cazandra Rebollar
Brad Shugoll
Shelley Sizemore
Maliquea Starnes
Rolisa Tutwyler
Chizoba Ukairo
Camry Wilborn
Sherri Williams