The Media School’s commitment to the fight against racism
Dear Media School students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends,
A news story this week in USA Today told of an Indianapolis man scrubbing the blood of a black gunshot victim from the ground.
The blood belonged to IU alumnus Chris Beaty, killed last Saturday in downtown Indianapolis, another reminder of the heightened risk of violence faced by African Americans today. Beaty’s death came amid the confusion of protests against the police killing of George Floyd. One more black life lost, this time in the midst of grieving for another.
Media School student Mary Claire Molloy was the author of the story about the aftermath of Beaty’s death. She and other students and alumni are on the front lines of the movement to end violence against black Americans, as participants and as recorders of history. We stand with them, as we stand with all of you.
As generations of our graduates have attested, in person, in print and on film, the struggle for civil rights for African Americans has never stopped. We acknowledge the unrelenting nature of this fight.
Now more than ever is the time to listen to our black students, staff, faculty and alumni, and to make space for what they have to say. To that end, I invite you to reach out to me with your concerns or with suggestions for what The Media School should be doing at this critical moment. I also invite you to join us this fall for a discussion about the role of the media in amplifying and ameliorating inequalities. We will provide more details about the event later this summer.
Media School alumnus Eric Deggans – BA’90, NPR TV critic, media analyst and author of “Race Baiter: How Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation” – wrote forcefully this week about what each of us can do to respond to racial injustice. “Find one element and do something to address it,” he wrote in a blog post. “Do what you can to dismantle the system where you can.”
For some of you, that one thing might be speaking up about issues of inequity in society. It might be participating in protests. It might be donating to organizations devoted to the ongoing struggle for justice.
For many of you — and for all of us in The Media School — it will be to harness the power of media in all their forms to document important stories that address racism and other injustices, as well as to celebrate diverse experiences in American life. Many of our students and alumni are doing this as I write.
As Deggans and many others have pointed out, police brutality against black Americans is not new. “… it is a reality many other Americans will not believe, until someone grabs a cellphone at a fateful moment, records it, and shows it to them. Again and again.”
Media can make a difference. So can we all.
At your school, we will listen. Please let us know about your fears, your concerns, and your ideas for how The Media School can act to address this issue. Let us know how we can support you.
The Media School