SUNY Plattsburgh Reflects On Black Solidarity Day: Law, History, And The Fight For Justice
At SUNY Plattsburgh Black Solidarity Day Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colón, unveiled insights into the systemic injustices confronting Black communities.
In a presentation at the SUNY Plattsburgh Black Solidarity Day on Nov. 6, Dr. Ricardo Nazario y Colón, senior vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion, discussed the historical and systemic injustices confronting Black communities.
Emphasizing the pivotal role of legal systems in perpetuating, sanctioning, or overlooking these challenges, his address, as reported by the Press-Republican, delved into the critical intersection of law and racial injustice that continues to shape the experiences of Black individuals.
Addressing students, faculty, and staff at the Angell College Center, Colón delved into the significance of days like Black Solidarity Day and the pivotal role of allyship in the ongoing fight for racial justice.
He remarked, “the historical and systemic injustices that Black people have faced are often perpetuated, sanctioned, or ignored by the very legal systems that are supposed to protect the rights of all citizens.”
Colón highlighted the historical struggle of Black individuals against laws enforcing enslavement, segregation, and discrimination, emphasizing that Black survival has been an act of defiance against laws that treated African Americans as property rather than people. He underlined the milestones achieved through relentless struggle, from the abolition of slavery to the Civil Rights Movement responding to the legal codification of racial discrimination.
“The importance of recognizing this context rests in acknowledging that laws have not always been just and that legal equality has yet to translate into actual equity. Education about these issues is vital, especially in contexts with a push against teaching this reality,” Colón said.
He stressed the importance of recognizing this historical context, emphasizing that legal equality has yet to translate into actual equity. Colón argued for the need for systemic change, highlighting that policy reforms and legal advocacy are crucial for bringing about transformation both within and outside the Black community.
In urging allies to understand this history, Colón emphasized the necessity of genuine empathy and practical solidarity. “It’s not enough to be non-racist; one must be actively anti-racist, which includes understanding and confronting the legacy and ongoing reality of legal injustice.”
Colón acknowledged the potential for law to be a tool for justice and equity. Lawyers, judges, and policymakers were cited as pivotal in transforming the law to serve as a means of protection and empowerment for marginalized communities. Active political engagement, legal literacy, and advocacy within Black communities were highlighted as essential elements for challenging and changing the system.
Colón concluded by placing Black Solidarity Day in context, describing it as a call to action for Black Americans to demonstrate their economic power and reflect upon their contributions to society. It serves as a day for unity, contemplation on political and social issues affecting the Black community, and a testament to the power of collective action.