SGA’s Joint Call for Solidarity with the GT Community
A Letter from Undergraduate and Graduate SGA
Fellow Yellow Jackets,
In light of the recent protests over the tragic loss of far too many Black lives, we join in solidarity with those calling for justice. At this pivotal moment, we cannot remain silent because our silence would make us complicit in the violence and oppression aimed at Black communities. We want to assure you that the Georgia Tech Student Government Association believes that Black lives matter and that we hold the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery in our thoughts and prayers. These most recent incidents have represented an all-out assault on the Black community and illustrate that our justice system is fundamentally broken. So many members of our community, particularly those in the Black community, have been traumatized, angered, and saddened by the manifestation of systemic racism seen in these events. We hear and share your pain. We urge you to continue to exercise your rights, remain civically engaged, and take care of your emotional and mental health during this time. SGA has created a guidebook (attached below) with some of these resources. We want you to know that we stand with you and will continue to utilize our roles to ensure that Georgia Tech upholds equity as we move forward.
Over the past few days, the Student Government Association has been reaching out to Black student leaders and other stakeholders across campus to first listen, and secondly, develop a plan to move forward, address the concerns raised by the student body, and advocate for meaningful reforms. This topic is important — you are important — and because we wanted to provide substantive updates and resources for students, we recognize that our response has not been as quick as we would have preferred. To create a campus culture centered on equity and inclusion, we must dedicate the necessary time to focus on solutions not just for the short term but for the incoming generations of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. While we continue to develop a comprehensive plan, we have identified and are pursuing steps to ensure that we protect each and every Georgia Tech student. We need your feedback to help us do so.
Our next steps:
- Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic.
- Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students.
- Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward.
- Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time.
To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click here to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body. Thank you in advance for your open and honest responses.
While we continue to reach out to stakeholders across Georgia Tech’s campus, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources available to students in Atlanta and across the nation. As we navigate these difficult times together, please view these resources and if you know of additional resources and would like to share with others, please email us and we will add them to the page.
We are here for you, now and always. As an organization, we remain committed to standing up for your voices, especially those in our historically underserved and marginalized populations, and ensuring that each and every Georgia Tech student has the opportunity to succeed. If we can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about our response and access to additional resources, click here to see our news update.
From the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Government Association Executive Cabinets,
In Progress and Service,
Brielle Lonsberry, Undergraduate Student Body President
Kyle Smith, Undergraduate Executive Vice President
Lea Harris, Graduate Student Body President
Jay McKinney, Graduate Executive Vice President
Comprehensive Resource Guide
The Student Government Association External Affairs team put together a comprehensive guide of all of the resources listed below. You can click below to download the guide and access all of these resources in one place.
How to Speak Out
|Your City’s Chief of Police||Varies by Location|
|Your County’s Sheriff||Varies by Location|
|Your State Patrol Headquarters||Varies by Location|
|Your Mayor||Varies by Location|
|Your Governor||Varies by Location|
|Local Accountability/Human Rights Office||Varies by Location|
|Chief Erika Shields (Atlanta Police)||(404) 546-6900|
|Sheriff Ted Jackson (Fulton County Sheriff)||(404) 612-5100|
|Georgia Department of Public Safety||(404) 624-7477|
How to Protest Safely
- Only attend protests with transparent leadership linked to legitimate community/activism organizations
- If you are an international student, be aware that if you get arrested, you could potentially lose your visa
- We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so remember to wear a mask, socially distance if you are able, and try to quarantine after going to a protest
- Under the 4th Amendment, you do not have to give your passwords to your devices to the police. Facial recognition passwords are not protected.
- You only have to identify yourself by Name and DOB, hold your responses, and wait to speak to your attorney. Do not volunteer any information
- Always stay with your group. Some police tactics are to separate people.
- Plan your transportation. Usually, roads are cut off for a protest and/or march. Consider carpooling and using public transportation.
- Let your family and/or close friends know that you are protesting so that they can support you and know where you are.
How to Act
- Act Boldly
- Follow Protest Leaders
- Participate in chants
What to Wear
- Fitted clothing that is hard to grab
- Face masks, and bring extra if possible
- Thick sneakers or boots
- Goggles (including heat resistant goggles)
- Emergency contacts on your arms
- Atlanta Jail Support: (404) 689-1519
- Your Local Jail Support: Varies by Location
- Pull your hair back
What to Bring
- First aid
- Protest signs
- A cell-phone (fully-charged) in airplane mode with a passcode lock
- A backpack or fanny pack to carry your items
What to Do if You Get Hit With Tear Gas
- Remain calm and take the following steps:
- Avoid using oils/lotions because they can trap chemicals and prolong exposure
- Breathe slowly, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit
- If possible, shut your eyes
- Quickly move away from the tear gas canister
- Remove your contacts, or have someone with clean hands remove your contacts and through them away, or wash your glasses
- Wash your hands and rinse your eyes
- If possible, use a solution of half antacid/half water, or use milk
- Get home, air out your clothes, wash your clothes, and shower
|Georgia NAACP (or local NAACP chapter)||Click Here|
|George Floyd Memorial Fund||Click Here|
|Reclaim the Block||Click Here|
|Black Lives Matter||Click Here|
|Campaign Zero||Click Here|
|Black Visions Collective||Click Here|
|ATL Solidarity Fund||Click Here|
|Black Youth Project 100||Click Here|
|Color of Change||Click Here|
|National NAACP Organization||Click Here|
|Southern Center for Human Rights||Click Here|
|The King Center||Click Here|
|National Center for Civil and Human Rights||Click Here|
Georgia Tech Resources
|Office of Minority Education||Click Here|
|Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion||Click Here|
|Center for Engineering Education and Diversity||Click Here|
|Health Initiatives||Click Here|
|Women’s Resource Center||Click Here|
|LGBTQIA Resource Center||Click Here|
|GT Counseling Center||Click Here|
|SGA Legal Advising||Click Here|
Mental Health Resources
|The Steve Fund||Click Here|
(or text STEVE to 741741)
|Therapy for Black Girls||Click Here|
|Therapy for Black Men||Click Here|
|Black Emotional and Mental Health||Click Here|
|Silence the Shame||Click Here|
|The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation||Click Here|
|The Trevor Project||Click Here|
|National Suicide Prevention Line||1-800-273-TALK (8255)|
Black Student Organizations (BSO)
BOOKS (AVAILABLE FROM THE GT LIBRARY)
|I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings||Maya Angelou|
|Just Mercy||Bryan Stevenson|
|The Fire Next Time||James Baldwin|
|The New Jim Crow||Michelle Alexander|
|The Warmth of Other Suns||Isabel Wilkerson|
|Their Eyes Were Watching God||Zora Neale Hurston|
|Dear White People||Netflix|
|See You Yesterday||Netflix|
|When They See Us||Netflix|
|If Beale Street Could Talk||Hulu|
|The Hate U Give||Hulu|
|The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975||For Rent|
|Fruitvale Station||For Rent|
|I Am Not Your Negro||For Rent|
To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click below to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body.
Steps Moving Forward
Georgia Tech Police Department
Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic.
Office Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students.
Black Student Organizations
Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward.
Office of Minority Educational Development
Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time.