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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Western Front stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Protesters congregate outside of Bellingham city hall in response to the death of George Floyd. // Photo courtesy of Angie Burger

By The Western Front Editorial Board

CW: Racism, Violence

Over the last weekend protests have broken out across the country in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Like all people of conscience, The Western Front Editorial Board feels it’s necessary to state that we oppose the systematic oppression of Black individuals, and all people of color, and support equity, justice and inclusion and the work it will take to achieve them.

Like many predominantly white institutions, The Front has struggled with building and maintaining a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with students, faculty and communities of color. Apologies will never truly be enough, but we are sorry for any damage we have caused with our reporting and will take every means necessary to ensure we do no harm to the communities we work to serve. We will continue working to create an educated, diverse and equitable newsroom that speaks to the concerns of the entire student body. Intolerance has no place in our community or our newsroom.

While all students have struggled through this quarter, people of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

A person walking in the protest in Bellingham on May 30 carries a sign that reads, “Help me I can’t breathe”. // Photo courtesy of Angie Burger.

Read and sign this petition to support Black students at Western. This petition calls for Black students to be given the option to opt out of finals, and we urge administration to make this exception. Allowing a certain group of students to opt out may create a number of legal issues for the university, however, we believe that it is a necessary step to help support our fellow students. An alternative to this may be to allow all students the option to opt out of finals given the extreme circumstances of this quarter.

As a predominantly white newsroom and faculty, there are holes in our lived experiences that prevent us from fully understanding the scope of the violence and hatred that our Black students have experienced. Today, we would like to invite all members of our community to submit a letter to the editor concerning how recent events in the world have impacted you, campus, or our city.

Here are a couple of questions to get you started if you’re stuck, but feel free to include any additional thoughts: 

What changes are necessary in order to bring equality and justice? 

What changes can be made on the local level, in the Bellingham and Western communities, to ensure that justice is served?

Submit letters of 250 words or less to the editor to westernfront.oped@gmail.com.

Allyship can be difficult to navigate when encountering profound issues such as systemic racism and violence – here are some places for people looking to become a better ally.  

Read and learn:

Read The 1619 Project

Read 75 Things White People can do for Social Justice

Listen to Pod Save The People

Protest:

Saturday at 3 p.m.

Donate:

Seattle Bail Fund

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Reclaim the Block

Black Visions Collective

WWU Community Aid

Support local Black-owned businesses:

Brandywine Kitchen 

Calypso Kitchen 

Guud Bowls 

Kismet 

Busy B’s Barbershop

Zora’s Styling Salon and Spa

Mo’s Parlor 

Cool Runnings Construction

Myne Candle Company 

Kountry Customz

Pure Fitness Martial Arts

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