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Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

Getting and Staying Engaged for Racial Justice

An open letter to all University of Dayton students:

Dear Students,

We recognize that this is a trying time in Dayton and all of our respective communities, in the nation, and around the world; we are all looking for ways to engage deeply and advocate for proactive leadership and positive change.

We have heard from UD students, who have expressed that there is an overwhelming amount of information on social media and the web at this time, and that they are committed to being engaged on the issues of anti-racism and systemic racism.

Each of you is called in different ways to this movement. The principles of community leadership emphasized by the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community focus on constructive conversations and learning together, grounded in the first principle of listening and learning. The principles call us to build on the assets of and relationships with the community to find shared solutions.

All people have human rights, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, ability, or other status, and racial injustice is antithetical to human rights norms. Evidence-based advocacy and engagement towards reform and just social change are essential to human rights practice which lies at the heart of the Human Rights Center’s work.

It is based upon these practiced principles, education, advocacy and scholarship that our Centers create a framework for students to engage in issues of social justice and be allies in their respective communities and the University of Dayton community.

Now is a critical time to get and stay engaged over the long-term to work towards systemic change. Here are key actions to consider which are particularly aligned with the missions of our Centers:

  • Peacefully protest, while knowing your rights and responsibilities.
  • Get involved with local and national advocacy organizations, such as NAACP, ACLU and Amnesty International USA, and if you are white, there are particular groups you might consider such as Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Ohio Aspiring White Allies Committee.
  • Reach out to your state and national representatives to indicate your support for accountability for police brutality and police and criminal justice reform.
  • Support local Black-owned businesses.
  • Donate to a victim memorial fund or bail fund - find more here.
  • Engage in dialogue while listening deeply to understand stories and impact of our neighbors, friends, and fellow change agents. Follow Dayton Daily News and your local newspaper’s coverage of dialogues and government meetings to understand what is happening locally. The Wright Library’s Antiracism Conversations series is a good place to start; the national organization Essential Partners has other resources for opening conversations on challenging topics
  • Vote. See the University’s Vote Everywhere page to learn how to register. You can find out the position of candidates on the issues on the Vote Everywhere website.

Please search the links below for more information concerning these topics. Additional resources, such as links to local initiatives, recommended readings, podcasts and social media sites can be found on our resources page.

This initiative is in partnership with the UD Human Rights Center.


Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

1401 S. Main Street
Dayton, Ohio 45409