This is a statement by the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) Team of the University of Amsterdam condemning the violent racist attack on 8 November 2019 against Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP) members and volunteers at the KOZP congress in The Hague. In the last two weeks, the silence has been deafening. We call on politicians, community, academic and business leaders to take a stand against violence, and speak out in particular, against anti-black racism.
UvA students and staff have been speaking out against racism and some have joined the protests and manifestation last weekend. The CDO team is asking everyone to not stay silent. Silence condones. The use of violence cannot be tolerated.
We are birthing a racial discourse in The Netherlands, and this is a painful process. But the language we use and the choices we make regarding when to take a stand and when to stay quiet, will contribute to our ability to mature into a society that dares to ask the difficult questions surrounding race and privilege. We need to practice the skill of listening to one another with the goal of understanding, not convincing, and to do this with respect. This messy, emotional conversation is a pre-requisite for cultural change.
Dr. Anne de Graaf, Chief Diversity Officer, University of Amsterdam