Opposing all forms of prejudice and oppression
September 24, 2020
Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,
Following recent activity on social media — including the College’s own accounts and those independently maintained for and by alums — some have raised questions about our commitment to and support for the Jewish members of our College community. As Mount Holyoke’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, wrote in a recent letter to students: “We can encourage people to do the introspective work of interrogating biases both within and outside of their communities but do so while rejecting powerful stereotypes and tropes about any group of people.” The important work ahead, some of which is outlined in our recently published Anti-Racism Action Plan, requires that we reject all forms of oppression in our community. We remain steadfast in our dedication to this work, and I look forward to sharing an update on our progress with the community later this fall.
In a year in which we have struggled to find hope in the face of inequities, violence, and increasingly divisive rhetoric, we have also seen a rise in anti-Semitic acts of hate across the country and the world, in colleges and universities, online, in public spaces, and at synagogues, burial grounds and places of Jewish community support. Anti-Semitism targets Jewish people specifically, and is intertwined with other forms of prejudice. In this moment of the Jewish High Holy Days -- following Rosh Hashanah and just prior to Yom Kippur (September 27-28), and closely followed by Sukkot (October 2-9) -- I express my empathy and support for our Jewish community and reaffirm that, here at Mount Holyoke, we oppose all forms of prejudice and oppression and all forms of hate. These threaten our communities and our democracy, undermine our educational mission and diminish our humanity and the well-being of everyone in our community.