#ScholarStrikeHistorians in the News
tags: labor, Racial Justice, Protest
Three headline-making images from the past week sparked an upcoming strike for racial justice -- what could be the biggest collective action by academics in recent memory.
The first scene was Jacob Blake, a Black Kenosha, Wis., resident, being shot seven times in the back by a white police officer while his children watched. The second was Kyle Rittenhouse, a white teenager, being allowed to walk past police, long gun in hand, after he allegedly shot three Kenosha protesters, killing two.
The third image was of players from the Women’s National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association refusing to play in protest of continued police violence against unarmed Black people.
Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, was watching it all unfold.
“I would be down as a professor to follow the NBA and Strike for a few days to protest police violence in America,” she tweeted.
Within a few hours, Butler had a co-organizer, historian Kevin Gannon, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Grand View University, along with the #ScholarStrike hashtag, a mission statement and a date: Sept. 8 to 9.
Within a few more hours, by midday Thursday, Butler and Gannon had strike commitments from about 600 scholars. The numbers continue to climb.
Citing the Blake shooting and others by police, and the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, also by police, the initial #ScholarStrike statement says, “We can no longer sit quietly amidst state violence against communities of color.”
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