MAASA Statement Regarding George Floyd & Police Racial Violence

The Mid-America American Studies Association (MAASA) mourns the death of George Floyd and stands with those who protest his murder and the systemic anti-Black violence his death represents. As a socially responsive organization committed to opposing all systems of oppression and acts of hatred, we condemn government action (or inaction) that fails to honor the pain and anger caused by his murder and to redress the entrenched, historic patterns of anti-Black violence at the hands of law enforcement. In short, we condemn government failure to take swift and forceful steps toward preventing such violence so that justice may prevail and healing may begin. As an academic community committed to creating a more just, equitable, and peaceful world, MAASA supports efforts to raise awareness about anti-Black violence, inequalities created and sustained by the criminal justice system, and bold efforts to undo such inequalities. We support efforts to honor and celebrate George Floyd’s life—and the lives of Rekia Boyd, Dontre Hamilton, Michael Brown, LaQuan McDonald, Philando Castille, and other Black victims of police violence in our MAASA region and beyond—and to combat the patterns of thought and habits of the heart rooted in white supremacy that would denigrate and undervalue Black humanity.

Therefore, the MAASA Executive Board calls upon the State of Minnesota to prosecute Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and the other three officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, involved in Floyd’s unnecessary death to the fullest extent of the law. Their actions represent the racial terrorism against Black people that has gone under- and unpunished since before the founding of this nation to the present. We also call upon the Minneapolis Police Department and other law enforcement agencies throughout the country to cooperate with local communities on lasting structural changes that undo systemic violence against Black people and other vulnerable populations.

MAASA is an organization of students, teachers, and scholars in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. A regional affiliate of the American Studies Association, MAASA is committed to the regional, national, and transnational study of American cultures and to the promotion of scholarship through the publication of our international journal, American Studies.

Approved by the MAASA Executive Board on June 6, 2020.