The logo for Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG). The article below is a letter written by USG President Shaheer Khan to the student body and university community. STATESMAN FILE

Shaheer Khan is the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President at Stony Brook University (SBU). Khan is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in international studies. 

To the Stony Brook University Community:

In light of recent events, the USG would like to acknowledge the injustices and crimes against humanity by police forces across the United States. Among countless instances of black lives being unjustly taken, it was racism that led to the murder of Breonna Taylor in her own home, encouraged two white men to murder Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging and influenced a police officer to take the life of George Floyd. We want to extend our hand in support and solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a challenging and terrifying time for everyone, but you are not alone. We see you. We hear you. We stand with you.

We condemn the nationwide police violence against the black community as well as pledge solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement. The events taking place across the country leave us feeling lost, hurt, angry and broken. The number of black lives lost at the hands of police, along with the destructive effects of the pandemic that we are facing today, highlight how far away we are from an equal society. 

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USG does not tolerate and denounces all forms of racist rhetoric and behavior targeted towards black people. We must stand together and condemn racism, anti-blackness and white supremacy. It is not enough to be non-racist; we need to be anti-racist. 

Moments like these call upon us, as a community at SBU, to look beyond ourselves, our privileges and our silence. In doing so, we can begin to actively support our fellow black, indigenous and people of color students when they need it the most. For that reason, we pledge our commitment in elevating and projecting black voices by providing a platform to continue to draw attention to all the injustices faced by this community. 

Over the next few weeks, USG will begin to facilitate virtual town hall meetings as a safe space for black students on campus to share their experiences, concerns and potential solutions for our community. As the elected body that represents Stony Brook’s undergraduate students, we will make resources available for students, clubs and organizations seeking to elevate black voices on campus. This will include educational materials on our social media, as well as funding for clubs and organizations to create virtual programming for students. We will also demand accountability in our country’s law enforcement and its consistent violation of black people in America by advocating to local, state and federal governments; we will do so in collaboration with the SUNY Student Assembly and other Student Government Associations across the country. 

Now, more than ever is a time to be vocal. We encourage all those who can to take action to act. Here are some things you can do:

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  1. View the Link Tree to both donation and resource links for organizations in Minneapolis, Columbus and Louisville. 
  2. Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which helps post bail for protesters arrested during the Minneapolis protests.
  3. Donate to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, started by George Floyd’s brother.
  4. Donate to the Ahmaud Arbery Fundraiser.
  5. Sign the Justice for Breonna Taylor Petition and donate to the fundraiser.
  6. Donate to the National Bailout Fund to help end mass incarceration.
  7. Donate to the Black Visions Collective.
  8. Donate to Reclaim the Block.
  9. Donate to North Star Health Collective.
  10. Donate to the Louisville Bail Fund.
  11. Sign the petition, Justice for George Floyd.
  12. Make calls to demand justice for George Floyd.
  13. Sign the petition demanding that the officers involved in George Floyd’s death are charged.
  14. Call the Minnesota District Attorney at (612)-324-4499.
  15. Text ENOUGH to 5515.
  16. Text JUSTICE to 55156.
  17. Text FLOYD to 55156.
  18. Register to vote in New York state.

USG strongly encourages all Stony Brook community members to become registered voters and pay close attention to the platforms the candidates on your ballot are running on. Voting is one of the most influential avenues for change. The Center for Civic Justice will be facilitating voting efforts for all SBU students. They will support you to request an absentee ballot, register to vote or answer any questions you might have. Please complete this form if you are currently registered to vote in New York, not currently registered to vote in New York but want to register to vote in New York, registered to vote in a different state or you want to register to vote in a different state.

As always, your health and well-being takes priority. Please do not feel like you are without help or assistance during these trying times. I want to remind you all that the SBU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is open and available for help. They are not taking any in-person meetings, but you can still gain access to a mental health professional. Please call CAPS at (631) 632-6720. 

Together, we can make history by shaping this nation’s future. We call on you, as advocates, activists and students, to work towards making social change. We will support you in all ways possible. We send our love and support to the black community. Whether we stand, kneel or march, we will do so together. 

Sending you all light and love,
Shaheer Khan, USG President

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