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The Vigil's Statement on Black Lives Matter

George Floyd.

Breonna Taylor.

Ahmaud Arbery.

Sean Reed.

Tony McDade.

These are only a few of the Black Americans recently murdered due to the ongoing systemic racism and white supremacy in the United States. It is horrific, outrageous, and unacceptable that they were murdered because of the color of their skin. The Vigil stands in solidarity with the Black community and those fighting to end state and police violence against Black bodies not only across this nation, but throughout the globe. We unequivocally supp ort the Black Lives Matter movement and will continue in our commitment to fight for freedom, liberation, and justice for all Black people.

However, while this anti-racist work occurs at the national level, it necessitates a further examination of our own university’s participation in institutional racism. On our very own campus, Black students have been fighting against Washington and Lee University’s explicit racism and white supremacy for decades through publicly voicing their experiences of Blackness and calling for tangible anti-racist action. The omnipresent complacency of students, administration, and alumni has actively perpetuated these inequalities. It is no longer acceptable for members of the Washington and Lee University community to tolerate participation in systems of oppression.

As a Washington and Lee student-run publication dedicated to amplifying the voices of marginalized voices, the Vigil will do everything in its power to stand against systemic racism and dismantle white supremacy on our campus. The exhausting, oppressed experiences of marginalized students is the primary reason for the Vigil’s existence, and we aim, now more than ever, to be a platform dedicated to lifting their voices. We must stop and listen to the anger, despair, and anguish of Black people and their allies. We must heed their cry for justice and equality and take a stand against racism.

We believe we must work together to bring change to our campus, the nation, and the world. We encourage our readers to begin with the following calls to action:

  • Visit to read articles and poems written by Black W&L students and alumni

  • Make a personal, explicit commitment to be anti-racist and end white supremacy

  • Think about what systems on W&L’s campus perpetuate racism, white supremacy, and injustice

  • Call out, condemn, and confront racism, even when it’s uncomfortable

  • Continue educating yourself on racial justice and equity

Black lives matter. Sincerely, The Vigil Team

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