Carmen J. Walters, Ph.D., President

POSITION STATEMENT

As we welcome students, faculty, and staff back to the campus for the 2021 spring semester, we applaud Governor Tate Reeves for signing into law the bill that mandates retiring the Mississippi state flag and bans future use of the Confederate emblem, we honor the life and relentless work of civil rights icon “Tougaloo Nine” member Meredith Anding, Jr., and as we prepare to commemorate the life and legacy of drum major for peace Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Tougaloo College community remains outraged over the recent attack on our nation's democracy that has nearly crippled our country. This horrible act, a stark reminder of the ongoing racism that permeates our society, must never be forgotten from our collective history. Tougaloo College's position is that we unequivocally condemn all racism, violence, intolerance, inequality, and injustice that divide our nation more than strengthening it. Today, we call for civility, humanity, tolerance, racial equity, and justice to which we have been committed to for over 150 years. Our democratic society's health requires engaged citizens ready and able to exercise their voice civically, thoughtfully, and responsibly. As our nation looks for answers, as our nation looks to heal, and our nation looks for change, now more than ever, Tougaloo College stands firm in remaining true to the principles of American democracy and working to create a more just and equitable society. Through our Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice, Tougaloo College confronts the 21st century’s social ills through engaged teaching, research, leadership development, policy development, organizing, community outreach, and engagement.

We know that education is a key component to equality and real systemic change. Higher educational institutions can and must do better. We must be intentional about building civic-minded cultures through educating students to become active, socially responsible world citizens to be the voice of change to make the world a better place—a world different than the past. Tougaloo remains steadfast in its mission of advancing curricular and co-curricular activities designed to expand our scholars' intellectual capacity and training them to be leaders and change agents like the “Tougaloo Nine,” and advocates for human dignity and justice for all like U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, NAACP National President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Mississippi Attorney Constance Slaughter Harvey, and many others. While at Tougaloo, and when they leave these hallowed grounds, our graduates are socially conscious and demand justice when injustice rears its ugly head. On the eve of the 5th Annual National Day of Racial Healing, Tougaloo College stands in solidarity with those who demand justice. We reaffirm our commitment to being a “safe haven” to have an open and honest dialogue on racial injustice and truth-telling conversations with the intention of promoting racial equity, racial healing and unity, and change. Our work will be ongoing and deliberate in educating a generation that will advance the democratic values of civility, mutual respect, respectful dialogue and dissent, racial equality, and justice to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable world. Let us stand firm on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “The time is always right, to do what is right.” This is our collective call to action.