GW Peace Studies Statement on Current Protests and Government Response

June 5, 2020

The Peace Studies Program at the George Washington University expresses its strong support for the anti-racism protests occurring across this country and around the world, in response to the killings of Black Americans Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and David McAtee, among many others too numerous to name. The issue of systemic racism relates to the very legitimacy of our democracy, and the overwhelming majority of protesters have acted responsibly and in keeping with the highest ideals of civil disobedience as a form of conflict resolution and peace-building.

The fact that the President of the United States has called for a militarized response to these protests, predicated on a desire to "dominate" those undertaking this important expression of legitimate outrage and call for social change and justice, represents an assault against not only the protesters, but also the democratic ideals to which this country aspires.

We condemn this authoritarian response to the protests. It rests on an understanding of democracy and of what constitutes the collective social good that is irredeemably misguided.  Only by turning away from this conception of law and order as a form of dominance can we begin to resolve the conflicts among us and work together toward a more just and peaceable future.