About the George Floyd Cornerstone Fund

The Underrepresented Minority Faculty are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Change, drafted by and for faculty and staff. Over 1000 signatories have affirmed that Black Lives Matter and that Centre must contend seriously with its history and present inequities. We seek to build on this momentum with the establishment of the George Floyd Cornerstone Fund at Centre College as the first actionable next step in response to the Statement’s important symbolism.  

This Fund commemorates all those who have died as a result of racist actions and policies. Acknowledging the awareness and energy sparked by the tragic death of George Floyd, who was eulogized by the Reverend Al Sharpton as “the cornerstone of a movement,” we establish this fund to facilitate the building of a more inclusive Centre College. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund grants distributed through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for programming that contribute directly to the commitments outlined in the Statement. We are launching this fundraising effort on Juneteeth—the 155th anniversary of slavery’s effective abolition in the United States—because we recognize that there is still much work to do to achieve true liberation and justice. 

As Underrepresented Minority Faculty, we are acutely aware of the inequities deeply embedded in the structures and culture at Centre, and mourn the experience of every student, faculty, staff, and alumnus who have suffered because of them. Our decision to proceed with a GoFundMe campaign is predicated on our belief that grassroots change is needed at Centre College. 

This fund will serve to “promote the replacement of oppressive structures in our community,” as promised in the Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Change. The commitments are specified as:

  • Creating spaces where voices who need to be heard can speak without fear of repercussion. 
  • Supporting vulnerable students, faculty, and staff with humility and respect.
  • Identifying and changing behaviors, policies, and procedures that perpetuate structural racism. 
  • Scrutinizing our own thoughts, words, and actions to do the necessary work to promote equity and inclusivity. 

The George Floyd Cornerstone Fund is designed to give voice, and resources, to those who are prepared to engage in the work of anti-racism at Centre College. Students, faculty, and staff will all be eligible to apply for grants to fund programming that contributes to the commitments described above. Examples might include:

Students: Funding for leadership training programs and conference travel related to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism; programming for minority students; anti-racism programming on campus.

Faculty: Funding to reimagine courses and/or curricula in ways that critically engage with diversity and inclusion; to support diversity and anti-racism training; programming to support minority faculty; development of curricular and public programming to confront Centre’s history with respect to slavery and racism.

Staff: Funding to establish a Minority Staff Working Group; support for minority staff programming.

The George Floyd Cornerstone Fund envisions a truly diverse and inclusive campus that affirms the dignity of personhood for all of its members in a way that involves the entirety of the Centre Community.

To contribute, please visit our Go Fund Me Charity Page

We are grateful for your support in helping us to transform Centre,

Dina Badie, Satty Echeverria, Shana Sippy

(Representatives of the Underrepresented Minority Faculty Working Group)

We are grateful for the support of Rick Axtell, Kristi Burch, Eva Cadavid, Elizabeth Graves, Krista Rinehart, and Candace Wentz for their support in helping us to imagine this fund and establish the frameworks to make it possible. 

Note: The George Floyd Cornerstone Fund is a parallel, but separate, initiative to the support of ODI from Centre’s Development Office. All donations made to the Go Fund Me Charity for the George Floyd Cornerstone Fund will be used for the purpose described above.

Centre College Statement of Solidarity and Commitment to Change

We the undersigned faculty, staff, and administrators of Centre College affirm our solidarity and commitment to transforming the structures that create and preserve racism, White supremacy, and injustice. We make this statement because silence permits these structures to continue unquestioned, making silence a particularly insidious form of violence. But we also recognize that simply making statements of solidarity and outrage are not enough. We must act.

In just a few short weeks, we have learned the names of David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. These names are only the most recent in a long and tragic list of Black people who have been victims of the structural, systemic, and violent racism that continues to plague this country and has been present since before our country’s founding. We mourn with our students, colleagues, and communities in this time of national tragedy. We stand in solidarity with our current and former students and colleagues—especially students and colleagues of color—who are placing themselves on the front lines and protesting injustice while calling and working for change.

To say “Black Lives Matter” does not mean that all life is not valuable. Rather, it is an affirmation of that fact and an acknowledgment that throughout our history Black lives have been treated as though they are expendable and less deserving of justice than other people. We cannot forget that slavery has a long and terrible legacy, an ugly history that we at Centre College have to grapple with as well. Undoing and unlearning racism require tremendous work.

We recognize that Centre needs to make some profound changes in order to become the inclusive campus that we aspire to be. This requires dismantling oppressive structures and replacing them with an inclusivity that promotes the dignity of personhood.

We, therefore, commit to creating spaces where voices who need to be heard can speak without fear of repercussion.

We commit to listening to vulnerable students, faculty, and staff with humility and respect.

We commit to recognizing vulnerable students, faculty, and staff as most qualified to guide our path toward greater inclusivity.

We are committed to identifying and changing behaviors, policies, and procedures that perpetuate structural racism.

We commit to scrutinizing our own thoughts, words, and actions to do the necessary work to promote equity and inclusivity.

Yours in sorrow, indignation, and solidarity,

Drafted by Rick Axtell, Dina Badie, Kiyona Brewster, Eva Cadavid, Megs Gendreau, David Hall, Lee Jefferson, Adriana Martin, Matthew Pierce, Jamie Shenton, Shana Sippy, Kaeyln Wiles, & Lisa Williams