Staff Editorial: Amplifying Black Voices at The Observer


George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed on May 25, 2020, after a police officer knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, refusing to stop even when Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” George Floyd was murdered. So was Ahmaud Arbery. So was Breonna Taylor. So were countless other Black Americans, many whose names never came to light. The anti-Black racism that led to these deaths is a fundamental part of American life, from policing to politics to culture. As journalists, to avoid engaging with this terrible fact would be to betray our obligation to accurately report the truth — a truth that Black Americans face every day and one that white institutions have come to acknowledge only recently. 

Fordham is one of these institutions, and it is vital that The Observer center anti-racism work in its mission. As a predominantly white editorial board at a predominantly white institution, we must actively work to diversify our editorial board and student contributors. In addition, The Observer recognizes the outsize platform it has in the Fordham community. As such, we would like to amplify Black voices through our paper, now and always. 

We are also committed to supporting the voices in our community who are fighting to make Fordham a fairer and more equal place for all students. As a school that has campuses in the Bronx — a borough that has a 43.6% Black population — and at Lincoln Center — which was quite literally founded on racist slum clearance policies — Fordham should prioritize supporting its Black students. In the 2019-20 school year, only 4.4% of the student body was composed of Black students and for the Class of 2023, the percentage of Black students accepted to Fordham rose by only 2% from the previous year.

Abysmal admissions rates are not the only barriers to Black students at Fordham. The university needs to hire more Black faculty, address microaggressions in classes and clubs and support cultural organizations within Fordham and New York City as a whole. Most importantly, Fordham should listen and prioritize the voices of Black students in order to support them in their collegiate endeavors.

This is also the responsibility of The Observer. It is our duty to ensure that The Observer is a place where Black students have a platform to speak their minds and share their stories with the Fordham community. As a predominantly white newspaper, we are a part of the problem, but we can also be part of the solution.

We stand in solidarity with our Black student body. The Observer is actively working toward making our club more accessible, and we are committed to hosting workshops in the next semester that address racism and bias in the media. This is neither the end nor the beginning of our work. 

If you would like to submit a Letter to the Editor or write an article, please reach out to [email protected]. This is not a substitute for anti-racism work, but rather an opportunity to use our platform to lift up crucial voices in the Fordham community. We promise that we will listen.