Racial Justice Statements & Resources

There is no sustainability without equity.

Given the systemic racism occurring over the past four decades and recent incidents of social injustice, the University of Pittsburgh’s commitment to racial justice is more important now than ever.
As the great Martin Luther King, Jr. said,  “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  And the Pitt community refuses to be silent in the face of injustice and raises it’s voice loudly to end the injustices black community members are facing. Pitt Read Pitt leaders’ full official statements on racial justice.
On June 3, 2020, Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with Health Science Diversity held a town hall meeting, “I Can’t Breathe: Agony to Activism,” that had over 1,600 attendees. Kathy Humphrey, Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, opened the town hall by asking everyone to try to hold their breath for 19 seconds.
The panel then went on to discuss how the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minnesota police ignited a powder keg motivating people to demand change across the nation. The panel expressed the fear they have to overcome every day and urged the attendees to appropriately name the systemic racism they see. The School of Education’s Dean Valerie Kinloch stated:
The panel then offered their insights on what individuals can do to stop racial injustice, emphasizing that it’s our responsibility to do anti-racism work and dismantling systems of oppression with communities.

What You Can Do To Be An Ally

Start by educating yourself on the history of racial injustice in America and it’s harmful impacts on black communities to this day. Below is a video explaining systemic racism for all ages.

Second, amplify the voices and experiences of black community members. The Center that CARES in Pittsburgh’s Hill District created the powerful video below to raise awareness.

Third, explain to people why responding to black lives matter with “all lives matter” is harmful. #BlackLiveMatter was created by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin’s 2013 murder.

When people say “all lives matter,” it discounts and diminishes the focus on the violence and discrimination black individuals face every day in the United States.  Check out how ABC10 News personality Chris Thomas answers this viewer question below:


Fourth, support the black community by checking in on your neighbors, protesting, supporting your local black-owned businesses, voting, and donating to racial justice organizations.  Below are some resources to help you understand systemic racism and how you can work with the black community to stop it.

Pitt Community Resources 

  1. Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP) provides educational and academic resources beneficial to strengthening activism and white allyship, including events and Covid-specific resources.
  2.  Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has put together diversity resources and ways to get involved at Pitt.
  3.  Join the Department of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Diversity Book Club to read engaging and through-provoking books that are relevant to today’s society. June’s book was “How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi . The next meeting will be on August 12th, 2020 to discuss Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race” Conversations about the chosen book are held frequently and can be found on Pitt’s Events Calendar.
  4. July 28-30, 2020 Pitt’s Office of Diversity & Conclusion will be holding their Advancing Social Justice: A Call to Action forum, which will focus on how to strengthen diversity at Pitt!
  5.  Find and commit to a diverse supplier base when making purchases through Panther Express. Find purchasing options that support diversity here. 
  6.  Watch the recording of Pitt School of Law’s virtual webinar  Race, Police, and Unarmed Civilian Deaths: What Can Be Done?  that had over 1,000 attendees on June 10, 2020.
  7.  Watch and attend upcoming town halls of This is Not “Normal”. Allyship and Advocacy in the Age of COVID-19 hosted by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. On July 8th, the series focused on discussing systematic racism, capitalism, and the history of inequity in a virtual town hall titled “ Toxic Recipe: The Historical Ingredients of American Inequity”.
  8. Learn more about race and policing from the CRSP.


Read statements/calls to actions written by Pitt community members and organizations:

Get Involved

Support Black-owned Businesses



Sustainability & Equity Articles