Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter to NIU

When NIU uses the phrase "Black lives matter," it's because we know and must acknowledge that Black people across our nation, including those who are members of the NIU community, have been historically, systemically and egregiously harmed by racism. As a university that deeply values equity, diversity and inclusion, it's not enough to acknowledge racism. We must actively and honestly learn about it and discuss it to truly dismantle and eradicate it. It's hard work and, for some, it's uncomfortable.

NIU's Office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) and the CODE (Conversations on Diversity and Equity) Education program is dedicated to helping the campus community engage in constructive conversations about a broad range of issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

After the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, our nation and campus experienced a wake-up call that makes it clear that change is required. Our CODE workshops provide opportunities to have these discussions to learn about the realities of racism and to foster a more welcoming university experience for all.

One important aspect CODE training covers is how the phrase "Black lives matter" can instantly trigger a counter response of "all lives matter" or "blue lives matter." In preparing people to address this reply, we're not diminishing our respect or how we embrace any others in our larger community, including the police. What we are saying is that no one is born "blue." Being a police officer is a noble calling that requires tremendous personal sacrifice, all for the good of protecting others; but the uniform can come off. People are born Black, and because of that one fact, their everyday lives are impacted to the point that they are being killed for simply living their lives. Advocating for Black people by saying "Black lives matter" so they are able to live their lives without being minimized, marginalized, harassed or killed is not anti-police – it's pro human. We're not talking about an organization or another racial group nor are we making a political statement. We're simply saying we see and hear the pain Black people are experiencing, and we want to acknowledge it and to help end racism.

Trying to pit us against another group, or creating divide where we don't wish there to be, is not who we are as a university or how we want to engage. Our mission, vision and values are clear, and our work remains focused on bettering our society.

Resources

Local and national incidents of racial injustice and loss have had a grave impact on the Black community, at NIU and across the country. As part of our response, we've gathered resources in support of our Black community. These resources can help us become more informed, process recent events and move toward healing as a campus and community.

If you would like to suggest additional resources, please email webcommunications@niu.edu. Include the title, author and URL of the resource(s).

This list is inspired by the article by Ashley Aselleke, “29 Movies, Shows, and Documentaries to Watch to Educate Yourself on Racial Injustice.

  • #BlackLivesMatter — #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.
  • #SAYHERNAME — Focusing specifically on police violence against black women, girls and femmes, #SAYHERNAME advocates for the integration of their stories into the calls for justice and broader policy conversations in regards to police brutality and media representations of police brutality.
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — There is a reason the ACLU has been one of the leading organizations in the pursuit of justice for decades: “The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
  • Black Visions Collective — Black Visions Collective is a black, trans, and queer-led organization in affiliation with the Black Lives Matter Global Network and the official chapter in Minnesota.
  • Chicago Community Bond Fund - The CCBF supports individuals whose communities cannot afford to pay bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence
  • Color of Change — Color of Change is the nation’s largest online racial justice organization today; it works to “challenge injustice, hold corporate and political leaders accountable, commission game-changing research on systems of inequality, and advance solutions for racial justice that can transform our world.”
  • Equal Justice Initiative — EJI is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. We’ve earned the top ranking from Charity Navigator and won a Skoll Award for our impact on social justice reform.
  • Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness Center — We will radically transform Black Women’s health by creating a world where Black women and girls live long, happy and thriving lives, defined by healthy minds, bodies and spirits.
  • NAACP Chicago Southside/DuPage County  — The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
  • The Freedom Fund — The Freedom Fund secures the release of low-income people held in jail or immigration detention simply because they can’t afford bail, with a focus on LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • The Marsha P. Johnson Institute — This organization was set up in honor of Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman who was prominent in the Stonewall uprising of 1969 and would go on to be a seminal part of the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Specifically, this fund seeks to support the black trans community.
  • Transgender Law Center — Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.
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