On Tuesday, February 1, 2022, the first day of Black History Month, twelve HBCUs received bomb threats. Administrators notified students and locked down their campuses. Students sheltered in place. Police and bomb squads conducted their searches, building by building, before announcing the campus clear and safe. Faculty, staff, students, and the general public were allowed to resume their daily activities but warned to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately.
By Wednesday, February 2, “six “tech savvy” juveniles have been identified as persons of interest by the FBI in threats to historically Black colleges and universities that appear to be racially motivated.”1 The perpetrators tried to hide in the cyberworld, covering their tracks and hoping to remain anonymous.
The Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center stands with the twelve colleges and universities and condemns the acts of hatred perpetrated against these institutions. Our center was founded on the belief that meaningful education can lead to a better understanding of the world outside of our own experience. We partner with diverse communities to dismantle bias and stereotypes that diminish our humanity. We lift our voices with those who experience hatred and discrimination as they call for change.
The perpetrators targeted the Black community during a time set aside to celebrate and honor contributions of Black Americans to this country. They sent those bomb threats to intimidate and frighten specific members of our communities. They are only the latest in a long line of hate-filled people who actively tear down the best of who we are. We will not allow their actions to go unanswered.
We must respond with a firm commitment to push back against such hate with everything we have in us. We must reach out to those impacted by racism and ask what we can do, together, to make this community safer for them and their children. We must confront those in our lives who insist on speaking and acting in ways that encourage division and intolerance. We must vote only for those, of whatever party affiliation, who condemn bigotry and hatred and support the rights of all persons. We must act, for if we do not, who will?