More tragedies have unfolded in the ongoing conflict of police brutality harming black Americans. Women, men, and non-binary people were killed because they were black. They were killed because our justice system systematically devalues their lives. They were killed because, despite increasing protest against police militarization, police continue to build capacity to harm the people they are required to protect and serve.

The Blue Devils United community mourns the loss of each and every person who is a victim of police brutality. We mourn them not only because their lives were cut short, but also because their deaths are a manifestation of escalating violence and hate toward black Americans. The Blue Devils United Executive Board stands firm in its conviction that black lives matter, black lives have always mattered, and black lives will forever continue to matter. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, and we stand in solidarity with the organizations who work toward justice. Moreover, we wish to send our support to those who remain on the ground in Charlotte.

We as a body will remember the lives lost and continue to say their names: Terence Crutcher. Keith Lamont Scott. Justin Carr. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Emmett Till. Maya Young. Demarkis Stansberry. Kendarie Johnson. Monica Loera. Jasmine Sierra. Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum. Shante Thompson. Keyonna Blakeney. Reecey Walker. Mercedes Successful. Amos Beede. Goddess Diamond. Deeniquia Dodds. Dee Whigham. Skye Mockabee. Erykah Tijerina. Rae’Lynn Thomas. T.T. Crystal Edmonds. We ask our larger community to also remember the nineteen trans individuals who were murdered this year. We are outraged at these acts of violence and, as violence against trans folks predominantly affects trans women of color, we find it critical to ensure that we support the Black Lives Matter Movement not just in word, but in action.

As the coming days spur larger conversations about Black Lives Matter and protesting tactics, make sure that these conversations acknowledge how deeply rooted homophobia and transphobia can be in the reality of racism in this country. Do not allow anyone to discount the Charlotte protests as reactionary or unnecessary. Do not allow anyone to disregard members of the LGBTQ+ community who are directly affected by the escalating violence against black and brown Americans. Do not allow anyone to dismiss intersectionality as the result of oversensitivity, and please reflect on how your own identity informs your response to hate.

Lastly, as Pride celebrations happen throughout the United States, let us remain proud of our identities. Let us use our pride to create a better reality for those who do not have the privilege of being proud. Let us come together as LGBTQ+ people, as allies, as people of different ethnicities, and as people of faith, no matter what that faith might be, to make each other feel safe, loved, and affirmed. To those who make up Duke’s LGBTQ+ community, whether you are a student, a faculty or staff member, or simply a part of the greater community, Blue Devils United promises that our doors will always remain open. In a time of mass violence and captivating fear, we do not have to face injustice alone.

Be United.