People comfort one another at a memorial for Jerrald Gallion, Angela Carr and Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr. near a Dollar General store where the three were shot and killed

Message from the Chancellor on the Jacksonville Murders

Once again I write to you in the aftermath of an act of unspeakable violence by a domestic terrorist and self-avowed White supremacist. On Saturday, a man with an assault rifle assassinated three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida. For the friends and families of the victims—their names are Angela Michelle Carr, Jerrald Gallion, and Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr.—this must be an unbearable pain. But racism and terrorism like this often ripples far beyond those immediately impacted. As intended by the shooter, the killings in Jacksonville have struck fear, terror, and anguish in the hearts of so many across our country, including so many of us here at Antioch University. I want to say to those hurting in the aftermath of this evil violence that you are not alone: you have allies, and the support, solidarity and sympathy of the Antioch community.

This is no time to mince words, so I want to say once again, loudly, that Antioch University condemns these senseless acts of violence and White supremacy in all the evil forms that they take. We are committed to the ongoing work of antiracism and racial justice, both within our institution and in our society at large. There is much work to be done, and in the memory of those killed in Jacksonville and all those impacted by White supremacy over the last centuries we must continue the fight for justice.

It is worth noting that the initial target of this attack was apparently an Historically Black College, but the gunman was thwarted by a security guard and moved on to the Dollar General. Additionally, the timing and location of the attack seems to be connected to the anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday in which 200 members of the local KKK brutally attacked Black students with ball bats and axe handles after they engaged in peaceful protests and sit-ins at Whites-only lunch counters in Jacksonville on August 27, 1959. The Jim Crow south and particularly Florida was notorious at the time for the lynching of thousands of innocent Black citizens. This mass murder on Saturday was just another form of lynching. However, instead of ropes, our politicians have ensured that modern-day White supremacists are armed with the most lethal weapons of war. The killer had recently bought his AR-15 legally in Florida, a state that just passed a permitless carry law.

There is more that can and should be said about everything that went wrong that led to these murders, from the persistence of systemic racism to the radicalization of young people through social media and on to the obscene expansion of the Second Amendment to guarantee would-be racist mass-murderers effortless access to military-style weaponry. I have written about these issues before (see my past statements here), and I intend to continue writing about them. We must hold politicians accountable at the ballot box. We must stand up and be heard. And we must fight for change. To that end, I encourage members of our community to consider sharing their thoughts and experiences through Antioch Voices.

In the meantime, I am attaching the links to several resources that have been circulated among members of our learning community. These include mental health resources, resources around anti-racism and acting as an ally, and historical information about the paroxysm of anti-Black violent terror known as Ax Handle Saturday. I hope you find them useful.

Please take care of yourselves—and keep up all of your efforts to build a more just society, one that is safe for all.


Well Connect: AU counseling resource — Remember that all Antioch students and employees have access to 3-5 free counseling sessions. You can also access legal and financial advice through Well Connect.

The Association of Black Psychologists — This site includes a range of resources including a referral service and a family / community / self-care toolkit.

The African American Policy Forum — The AAPF describes itself as “a think tank that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality.” Co-founded by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and Dr. Luke Charles Harris, the organization works to consistently promote social justice and the dismantling of structural racism. A number of Antioch University faculty and students have attended the important programs and conferences hosted by the AAPF, and their publications and initiatives offer many points of entry.

Racial Trauma, Resiliency, and Ally Resources (from California State University San Marcos)

Racial Trauma Toolkit (from George Mason University)

Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance (from the University of Pittsburgh)

Identity and Cultural Dimensions – Black / African American(from the National Alliance on Mental Illness) — If you scroll down, you will see resources re: Black mental health, self-care, education for allies, and taking action

Talking About Race (from the National Museum of African American History & Culture) — again a range of resources, particularly good for anyone who has not done a lot of learning re: race and racism in the US Aug. 27, 1960: Ax Handle Saturday (from Zinn Education Project) — A resource to learn more about the historical context of anti-Black violence in Jacksonville. Includes links to further reading, a documentary, and an interview. 
Ax Handle Saturday Documentary (from PBS) — A film exploring the history and effects of this event told through the lens of a Black documentarian.