Today, the graduate students of the Brown Sociology department, with support from faculty and staff, put out a statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the ongoing protests against police violence. The text of the statement is reproduced below; the full statement including signatures is available here. This statement joins those from the American Sociological Association, Sociologists for Women in Society, and other sociology departments including Temple University, UCSD (in the comments below), University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and Wake Forest University. Please post links to any other statements by sociology associations or departments that you come across in the comments below, and I’ll add them to this list.
Brown Sociology Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter
June 2, 2020
We as graduate student workers (with support of faculty and staff) in the sociology department at Brown University are in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the protests for justice around the country. We condemn the state-sanctioned murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, David McAtee, and all Black lives lost to ongoing state violence. Given our privileged position as scholars, professionals, and researchers at an elite private university – which has benefited from this country’s history of white supremacy in the forms of settler colonialism, slavery, and ongoing US imperialism – we cannot and will not stay silent.
The history of police and policing in the United States can be traced back to slave patrols and white rioting against neighborhood racial integration at the turn of the twentieth century. From Reconstruction to the mid-twentieth century, the installation of state-sanctioned racial segregation used policing as a means of ensuring the safety of property while enforcing a racial order founded on anti-blackness. These racial logics continue to show themselves in how we treat and value Black life. This history of policing and anti-blackness is deeply intertwined with ongoing racial capitalism, increasing militarization, and white nationalism, which have formed the conditions that we are experiencing and fighting against today.
We have a responsibility to engage with those in our professional, linguistic, and cultural communities, given our commitment to anti-racism and access to our own and the university’s resources, knowledge, and skills. We must initiate urgent conversations within our networks, especially with people who do not normally engage these issues. This includes all those we have relationships with, such as family, friends, students, academic colleagues, administrators, research centers, athletic coaches, neighbors, librarians, and faith community members. It also means that we must reach beyond our networks to financially and materially support the communities and individuals who are directly targeted through structural and interpersonal racism.
We understand that this engagement may be uncomfortable for those who have not previously participated in conversations around race and white supremacy, but we value Black life over our personal comfort. We believe raising consciousness about anti-black racism is more important than the relative ease of silence. This statement is our commitment to not ignore these systemic forms of violence, to not be silent about injustice, and to always aim to do better even when we fail. We commit to continuous education, of ourselves and of others, and to learning from our mistakes with humility. While we educate ourselves, it is also our responsibility to actively seek out information and not expect to always be educated by those who have been, and continue to be, targeted. As sociologists, we are committed to learning about society in order to change it.
We ask scholars in sociology and across other academic fields in the U.S. and globally to think creatively about what they can do to affirm Black life. No act is too small as it can set the stage for others to build on–often in unexpected and generative ways. Change happens whenever all of us get involved using our positions, resources, and experiences to cultivate a willingness to transform while being transformed. Involvement can take many forms: departmental statements; course design; speaker series, and workshops and teach-ins that think with, center, and compensate those directly affected. Any form of intellectual life on campus needs to grapple with, or at least recognize, the need to dismantle anti-blackness. This can also take the form of off-campus action in the community, such as university divestment from and/or disbandment of formal partnerships with campus, town, and/or city police in response to anti-black racism. At a minimum, any effort towards transformation involves rejecting both the comfort of willful ignorance and the practice of censoring ourselves into silence.
In working toward defunding and demilitarization of the police, we as members of the Brown community ask Brown University to cut all ties with Warren Kanders ‘79, the CEO of Safariland. Safariland is a supplier of teargas that is being deployed against protestors and others in the U.S. and around the world, including those fighting for justice right now – a violation of human rights that is banned in warfare by the Geneva Convention. 
As sociologists, we support the American Sociological Association’s statement and ask sociology departments across the world to join us with their own condemnations of the state-sanctioned murder of Black people and racist policing. It is well past time to say Black Lives Matter.
 Slavery and Justice: a Report by The Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice documents how the use of slave labor and the Atlantic Slave Trade built the University. Similarly, historical scholarship (Harris et al 2019) consistently reveals the Ivy League’s and higher education institutions’ long-term dependence on slavery and the displacement of indigenous nations. Like many private universities, Brown is embedded within a minority-majority city. Thus, part of ending silence must mean making and paying appropriate reparations to the local community who have experienced the University’s corporate shadow.
 The historic development of policing in the United States can be traced through legal and sociological scholarship (see Vitale 2017).
 For example, race and property were fused together within US jurisprudence and it influences the modes of policing used to protect property. Furthermore, Du Bois (1935) studied the role of the police in enforcing racial segregation and regulating Black, especially Freedman, labor in constituting the racial state during the late nineteenth century.
 A resource guide that contextualizes the Minneapolis uprising and provides guidance on some potential forms of support.
 Those engaged with the movement have created multiple Black Lives Matter syllabi.
 For example, UC Berkeley students held teach-ins protesting the 45th presidential inauguration, including events on anti-black racism, using story strategies to reach people, and facilitating difficult conversations.
 For example, the University of Minnesota (UMN) decided to limit involvement with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). University President Gabel made the decision after Jael Kerandi, Black UMN student and the student body president, wrote a widely circulated letter urging the university to cease its relationship with MPD.
 For example, despite being banned in warfare, tear gas is used against protestors globally.
 In particular, this demand has precedent, as Kanders resigned from the Whitney Board due to his lucrative investments, as a manufacturer, in tear gas, which has been used at the Mexico-U.S. border against migrants.
 The ASA’s June 1, 2020 statement is here.