Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice
On June 15, 2020, 22 days after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, 233 alumnae, alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of CSB and SJU submitted a petition asking Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s to establish a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship.
Two days later, then CSB President Mary Dana Hinton responded to the petitioners with a commitment to establish a scholarship for racial justice and an invitation to work with the CSB Institutional Advancement staff to deliver on this commitment.
On June 23, 2020 CSB Vice President of Institutional Advancement Kathy Hansen and members of both the annual giving and alumnae relations teams met with the petition authors Catherine Webber ’10 and Amy Stubblefield Barthel ’10 as well as Paida Chikate ’13 to begin planning for the creation of an endowed scholarship.
Over the next few weeks, CSB alumnae and staff worked through the process to create a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to create the Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice. Language from that MOA is included here as it is an important part of how this scholarship came to be:
On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a Black woman from Louisville, Kentucky, was killed by police in her own home. Her death was one in a countless series of men and women of color who have suffered violence at the hands of police. Seventy-three days later, on May 25, George Floyd was killed by police in south Minneapolis. His death sparked protests across the country and mobilized global efforts to curb police violence and to create just, equitable, and anti-racist communities. In response to this, Saint Ben’s alumnae and friends called for creation of an endowed scholarship to “support the educational promise of young Black American leaders,” in a petition shared with the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.
In solidarity with Saint Ben’s alumnae and friends, the College of Saint Benedict establishes the Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice. In recognition of the College’s identity and mission as a college for women, campus and alumnae leaders chose to lift up the name of a woman killed at the hands of police. Women’s voices and identities are often silenced and forgotten, and we hope that this scholarship will be an enduring way to remember the name of Breonna Taylor and of all women who have been harmed by police violence.
Establishing this scholarship is but one way in which Saint Ben’s commits to continued and improved work to combat systemic racism on its campus. We hope that this scholarship promotes a more racially diverse campus, and supports the education of Black and African-American women who themselves will be leaders in creating a more just and equitable world. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Learn more and find tools you can use as an Advocate for the Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice.
- Why is it named after Breonna Taylor?
- In working together to create this scholarship, staff and alumnae believe that as a college for women we have a responsibility to recognize and remember women who are harmed, oppressed and forgotten. As a college for women, we feel it is important to memorialize women’s lives that have been lost to police violence.
- Who started this scholarship?
- 233 CSB alumnae, SJU alumni, faculty and staff members, current students and friends of CSB/SJU submitted the petition to establish this scholarship. The College of Saint Benedict committed $25,000 toward a $50,000 goal of creating an endowed scholarship. On Thursday, August 13, all CSB and SJU community members will have an opportunity to contribute to the Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice.
- What else is Saint Ben’s doing to become anti-racist and anti-sexist?
- Several groups on campus and off are working toward this same goal. Many of those efforts are captured in the document Actions for an Inclusive CSB and SJUwhich was updated on July 31, 2020.
- What can I do?
- Educate yourself on racism, anti-racism and inclusion. Give a financial gift to the Breonna Taylor Scholarship for Racial Justice. Participate in the work of helping CSB and SJU become anti-racist and anti-sexist institutions.
- Where can I learn more?
- CSB/SJU Becoming Community: csbsju.edu/becoming-community
CSB/SJU Libraries: csbsju.edu/libraries/readwithus1; guides.csbsju.edu
75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice: communitycommons.org/entities