SGA’s Joint Call for Solidarity with the GT Community

SGA’s Joint Call for Solidarity with the GT Community

A Letter from Undergraduate and Graduate SGA

Fellow Yellow Jackets,

In light of the recent protests over the tragic loss of far too many Black lives, we join in solidarity with those calling for justice. At this pivotal moment, we cannot remain silent because our silence would make us complicit in the violence and oppression aimed at Black communities. We want to assure you that the Georgia Tech Student Government Association believes that Black lives matter and that we hold the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery in our thoughts and prayers. These most recent incidents have represented an all-out assault on the Black community and illustrate that our justice system is fundamentally broken. So many members of our community, particularly those in the Black community, have been traumatized, angered, and saddened by the manifestation of systemic racism seen in these events. We hear and share your pain. We urge you to continue to exercise your rights, remain civically engaged, and take care of your emotional and mental health during this time. SGA has created a guidebook (attached below)  with some of these resources. We want you to know that we stand with you and will continue to utilize our roles to ensure that Georgia Tech upholds equity as we move forward.

Over the past few days, the Student Government Association has been reaching out to Black student leaders and other stakeholders across campus to first listen, and secondly, develop a plan to move forward, address the concerns raised by the student body, and advocate for meaningful reforms. This topic is important — you are important — and because we wanted to provide substantive updates and resources for students, we recognize that our response has not been as quick as we would have preferred. To create a campus culture centered on equity and inclusion, we must dedicate the necessary time to focus on solutions not just for the short term but for the incoming generations of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. While we continue to develop a comprehensive plan, we have identified and are pursuing steps to ensure that we protect each and every Georgia Tech student. We need your feedback to help us do so.

Our next steps:

  • Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic. 
  • Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students. 
  • Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward. 
  • Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time. 

To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click here to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body. Thank you in advance for your open and honest responses. 

While we continue to reach out to stakeholders across Georgia Tech’s campus, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources available to students in Atlanta and across the nation. As we navigate these difficult times together, please view these resources and if you know of additional resources and would like to share with others, please email us and we will add them to the page.

We are here for you, now and always. As an organization, we remain committed to standing up for your voices, especially those in our historically underserved and marginalized populations, and ensuring that each and every Georgia Tech student has the opportunity to succeed. If we can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at sga@gatech.edu. To learn more about our response and access to additional resources, click here to see our news update.

From the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Government Association Executive Cabinets,

In Progress and Service,

Brielle Lonsberry, Undergraduate Student Body President
Kyle Smith, Undergraduate Executive Vice President
Lea Harris, Graduate Student Body President
Jay McKinney, Graduate Executive Vice President

Available Resources

Comprehensive Resource Guide

The Student Government Association External Affairs team put together a comprehensive guide of all of the resources listed below. You can click below to download the guide and access all of these resources in one place.

How to Speak Out
NameContact Information
Your City’s Chief of PoliceVaries by Location
Your County’s SheriffVaries by Location
Your State Patrol HeadquartersVaries by Location
Your MayorVaries by Location
Your GovernorVaries by Location
Local Accountability/Human Rights OfficeVaries by Location
Chief Erika Shields (Atlanta Police)(404) 546-6900
Sheriff Ted Jackson (Fulton County Sheriff)(404) 612-5100
Georgia Department of Public Safety(404) 624-7477

How to Protest Safely
General Information
  • Only attend protests with transparent leadership linked to legitimate community/activism organizations
  • If you are an international student, be aware that if you get arrested, you could potentially lose your visa
  • We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so remember to wear a mask, socially distance if you are able, and try to quarantine after going to a protest
  • Under the 4th Amendment, you do not have to give your passwords to your devices to the police. Facial recognition passwords are not protected.
  • You only have to identify yourself by Name and DOB, hold your responses, and wait to speak to your attorney. Do not volunteer any information
  • Always stay with your group. Some police tactics are to separate people.
  • Plan your transportation. Usually, roads are cut off for a protest and/or march. Consider carpooling and using public transportation.
  • Let your family and/or close friends know that you are protesting so that they can support you and know where you are. 
How to Act
  • Act Boldly
  • Follow Protest Leaders
  • Participate in chants
What to Wear
  • Clothing:
    • Nondescriptive
    • Comfortable
    • Fitted clothing that is hard to grab
  • Face masks, and bring extra if possible
  • Thick sneakers or boots
  • Goggles (including heat resistant goggles)
  • Emergency contacts on your arms
    • Atlanta Jail Support: (404) 689-1519
    • Your Local Jail Support: Varies by Location
  • Pull your hair back
What to Bring
  • Water
  • Cash
  • ID
  • Snacks
  • First aid
  • Protest signs
  • A cell-phone (fully-charged) in airplane mode with a passcode lock
  • A backpack or fanny pack to carry your items
What to Do if You Get Hit With Tear Gas
  • Remain calm and take the following steps:
  • Avoid using oils/lotions because they can trap chemicals and prolong exposure
  • Breathe slowly, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit
  • If possible, shut your eyes
  • Quickly move away from the tear gas canister
  • Remove your contacts, or have someone with clean hands remove your contacts and through them away, or wash your glasses
  • Wash your hands and rinse your eyes
    • If possible, use a solution of half antacid/half water, or use milk
  • Get home, air out your clothes, wash your clothes, and shower
Advocacy/Donations
NameWebsite
Georgia NAACP (or local NAACP chapter)Click Here
George Floyd Memorial FundClick Here
Reclaim the BlockClick Here
Black Lives MatterClick Here
Campaign ZeroClick Here
Black Visions CollectiveClick Here
ATL Solidarity FundClick Here
Black Youth Project 100Click Here
Color of ChangeClick Here
National NAACP OrganizationClick Here
Southern Center for Human RightsClick Here
The King CenterClick Here
National Center for Civil and Human RightsClick Here
Georgia Tech Resources
NameWebsite
Office of Minority EducationClick Here
Center for Student Diversity and InclusionClick Here
Center for Engineering Education and DiversityClick Here
Health InitiativesClick Here
Women’s Resource CenterClick Here
LGBTQIA Resource CenterClick Here
GT Counseling CenterClick Here
SGA Legal AdvisingClick Here
Mental Health Resources
NameWebsite
The Steve FundClick Here
(or text STEVE to 741741)
Therapy for Black GirlsClick Here
Therapy for Black MenClick Here
Black Emotional and Mental HealthClick Here
Silence the ShameClick Here
The Boris Lawrence Henson FoundationClick Here
BetterHelpClick Here
The Trevor ProjectClick Here
National Suicide Prevention Line1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Black Student Organizations (BSO)
NameWebsite
African American Student UnionClick Here
African Student AssociationClick Here
Black Graduate Student AssociationClick Here
Black Student Recruitment TeamClick Here
Caribbean Student AssociationClick Here
GT National Pan-Hellenic CouncilClick Here
GT Society of Black EngineersClick Here

Education Tools

BOOKS (AVAILABLE FROM THE GT LIBRARY)

TitleAuthor
I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou
Just MercyBryan Stevenson
The Fire Next TimeJames Baldwin
The New Jim CrowMichelle Alexander
The Warmth of Other SunsIsabel Wilkerson
Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston

MOVIES

TitleSource
13thNetflix
American SonNetflix
Dear White PeopleNetflix
See You YesterdayNetflix
When They See UsNetflix
If Beale Street Could TalkHulu
The Hate U GiveHulu
The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975For Rent
ClemencyFor Rent
Fruitvale StationFor Rent
I Am Not Your NegroFor Rent

Feedback

To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click below to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body.

Steps Moving Forward

Georgia Tech Police Department

Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic. 

Office Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students. 

Black Student Organizations

Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward.

Office of Minority Educational Development

Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time. 

Undergraduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Undergraduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery