A Message from Jonathan Lash, President, and Gaye Hill, Chair of the Board
On behalf of Hampshire College, we write to express our solidarity with Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, whom we invited to be the keynote speaker at Hampshire’s commencement ceremony on May 20. We are appalled by the vicious and explicitly racist, misogynistic, and homophobic threats being directed against Professor Taylor in response to her remarks. And we condemn the actions of those who are inciting violence by willfully taking information out of context and fanning the flames of prejudice and hate.
In her address, Professor Taylor spoke forcefully about the political rhetoric and policies that are exerting harm on communities of color, women, immigrants, people who are undocumented, and so many others whose existence threatens the status quo. She talked about her life as an activist and called upon all of us to engage in the trajectory of history, struggle, solidarity, and hope in advancing justice. She reminded us that it is the resistance of ordinary people that ultimately overcomes abuses of power and violations of human rights. These are themes that resonate deeply with the Hampshire community and our institutional mission to “foster a lifelong passion for learning, inquiry, and ethical citizenship that inspires students to contribute to knowledge, justice, and positive change in the world.”
We are dismayed that Professor Taylor is being attacked and threatened as a result of her speech at Hampshire. The assault to which she is now being subjected only serves to reinforce how very important her message is, especially in these times. Professor Taylor has our heartfelt support and thanks.
Jonathan Lash, President
Gaye Hill, Chair of the Board