A Statement Concerning the Present Protests

This is a joint statement of the governing boards of the Yale Club of Philadelphia and the Yale Black Alumni Association – Philadelphia on June 19 “Juneteenth” 2020.

We are saddened and appalled by the murder of George Floyd and other victims of police violence.   We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protesters and the Philadelphia community in opposing systemic racism and demanding an end to police brutality that has disproportionately harmed African-Americans and their communities.

We are heartened by the words of Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, when he reminded us that “in 1945, Pauli Murray wrote, ‘As an American I inherit the magnificent tradition of an endless march toward freedom and toward the dignity of all mankind.’ We have so much more to do to foster and sustain an equitable society.”

We point you to an evidence-based method, 8 Can’t Wait (below), promoted by YBAA’s national office and many others for reducing police violence. The police department in our beloved city of Philadelphia has begun implementing some of these practices, as have two of our neighboring cities, Camden, New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware. This is encouraging.

Cities that enact all 8 of these policies could reduce killings by police by up to 72%.

8 Can’t Wait.

Eight potential solutions, for your consideration.

We are not so naïve or presumptuous as to expect universal agreement from local alumni on these action points or this statement. No matter what your position is on all of this, we urge you to engage and think about what matters. Why? Because the protesters’ chant of “Black Lives Matter” is a clarion call and today’s upheaval affects everyone. It is only through active engagement that we – as individuals and communities and through our government and other systems – can go beyond self, complacency, and the status quo to thoughts and actions that generate much needed change.

Today’s protests and upheaval are not new. We all remember our years at Yale and know the path of our lives to today. We are at another tipping point in our lifetime.

We truly hope you are well. And we hope you will agree to join us in the personal challenge and commitment that these times demand of us. It’s the work we need to do to “tip” in the direction signaled by Pauli Murray and Peter Salovey.