On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Taylor Dumpson issued the following statement as a student, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and AUSG President.
Being first isn’t easy. As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first black Greek lettered sorority founded by collegiate women 109 years ago in this very city, and as the first black female president of the American University Student Government, I fully understand that trailblazing comes with challenges.
The reason I ran for President of the Student Government was because I truly believed, and believe, in the ability of American University to be its best self. I chose “A [Different] U” for the slogan of my campaign because I know there is truly value in embracing the differences among us.
Sadly, as a black student on the campus of our prestigious, Predominately White Institution (PWI), it would be incorrect to state that I was surprised by these heinous, egregious, racist, and bigoted actions that marred my first day in office. Yet, I was disappointed to realize that in this day and age, we must be prepared for the challenges that were once our parents’ and grandparents’ to bear. And, more importantly, we must be equipped with the perseverance to see these issues through to the end.
Now, more than ever, we must hold ourselves accountable for creating A [Different] U within ourselves, our university, and our community. Now, is the time that we must focus on why we chose this institution. Now, is the time that we must heed Michelle Obama’s call to action--, “when they go low, we go high.” And now, is the time that we set a positive example for students, parents, alumni, and the nation -- and declare, unequivocally, that racism, bigotry, and hate will not be tolerated or accepted on the campus of American University.
So tomorrow, we must get back out there and get to work.
During this time, we have seen our community unite across faculty, staff, administration, student, and identity-based lines to support members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Lambda Zeta Chapter, and the black community at AU as a whole. We have seen, on a national level, support for AU students coming from friends, family, and strangers alike. We must continue to unite against negative forces and commit to building A [Different] U.
While all eyes are on how American University handles this situation, I implore all members of our community to remain as supportive of one another as possible, and that we work toward fostering a truly inclusive environment, that is inviting to everyone regardless of identity.
We must support the efforts of the University as we seek to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice. Any members of the community with information about the recent hate crime should contact law enforcement authorities immediately. We must not stop until we exhaust all resources available to aid in finding the perpetrator(s).
COMMIT TO DEEDS NOT WORDS
We must be committed to tangible and long lasting change that exists beyond just words. We must move beyond town halls and protests, we must join efforts to develop strategies to implement real change on our campus.