An Open Letter to NSBE Collegiate and Pre-Collegiate Students

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Dear NSBE Family:

You may have seen or heard about the unspeakably racist email received by the UMass Amherst NSBE chapter and several other campus organizations on September 17, 2021.

The email came from an alleged account calling itself the “Umass Coalition for a better society.” It is reported that the matter is under investigation by UMass Campus Police. On your behalf, we have demanded in writing an answer from Dr. Kumble R. Subbaswamy, UMass Amherst Chancellor, on what will be done about this case.

We won’t give more life to the hate speech by re-articulating it to you. But we will take this opportunity to remind you of who you are and of the legacy on which you stand.

This is by no means the first time Black people have found opposition in their efforts to achieve the same levels of intellectual advancement as everyone else. You know that history.

It is not only the spirits of our ancestors who are cheering you on right now – it is also NSBE member who has also experienced the widest ranges of unfounded hate and resistance in their efforts to pursue higher education and full participation in our society and economy.

You are not “less than”. You have, are, and will continue to E2XCEL beyond imagination. All human beings are created equal. Your life is precious. It is a gift. Your education is our best hope for our world. We have made progress, but it will never be enough to quell the voices of hate. But voices cannot stop you.

We urge you to believe. To achieve. To continue your love of engineering and the fullest variety of life’s interests. Join forces with those who love you and share your ideals of unity and peace. Only achievement and perseverance will win in the end.

As we continue to battle for you, keep climbing. Never stop. Never.

Learn more about our commitment to social justice and find valuable educational and mental health resources at socialjustice.nsbe.org.

With NSBE Luv,

Favour Nerrise
2021–2022 National Chair
National Society of Black Engineers
nebchair@nsbe.org

Janeen Uzzell
Chief Executive Officer
National Society of Black Engineers
juzzell@nsbe.org

Justin Amevor
Justin Amevor
Region 1 Chair
r1chair@nsbe.org