MELSA Statement in Response to Protests Against Police Shootings

The Harvard Law School Middle Eastern Law Students Association stands in solidarity with the Black community. We condemn the horrific violence and injustice that Black Americans have continuously faced in the wake of police brutality, mass incarceration, discrimination, and racism entrenched in the fabric of the United States. The recent traumatic murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed, Yassin Mohamed, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have horrified us. But we know that the reality of police violence is nothing new in this country—it is just now being documented.

We as MELSA recognize that if not for the tireless advocacy of Black Americans for justice throughout our nation’s history, our rights would be further diminished. All communities of color—including the Middle Eastern community—enjoy greater rights due to Black Americans’ fight to realize our nation’s promise of equality.

There is anti-blackness in many immigrant and minority communities, including the Middle Eastern community. It is long overdue that we acknowledge the unique experiences and struggles of Black Americans and learn how to best engage in collective action against injustice. It is also our singular duty to address deeply rooted anti-blackness in Middle Eastern vocabularies and cultural perceptions. We must work to unlearn and uproot the racism in our own communities that perpetuates the unnatural burdens our Black community members continue to face in this day and age. It begins with speaking out, educating those who continue to discriminate, having difficult conversations with our family and community members, and showing up when it matters—in protests, in classrooms, and in donations.

We have a moral responsibility to speak up.

On our end, MELSA will work with our membership and the Middle Eastern and North African community more broadly to discuss how to engage in these difficult but necessary conversations. If you or anyone you know have questions, want to chat, or help us work through these issues, please reach out. We welcome the opportunity.

MELSA stands in support of those protesting the recent murders and hopes for their safety.

Black Lives Matter.

In solidarity,

The Harvard Law School Middle Eastern Law Students Association