We, the undersigned officers of the CCCC Queer Caucus, write to express our disappointment in the Executive Committee’s decision to hold CCCC 2018 in Kansas City, MO. While we are encouraged by the EC’s efforts to be more transparent in its decision-making, and while we support caucuses and individuals who’ll engage in social justice actions at the conference itself, we nevertheless stand in solidarity with members across CCCC caucuses whose lives are endangered by Missouri’s law enforcement practices.
To offer readers just a snapshot of the violence that prompted the NAACP’s travel warning, consider that Black men in St. Louis, MO are killed by law enforcement at a rate twice as high as the national murder rate. Across the state, Black people are 75 percent more likely to be stopped and searched on roadways than White travelers. Moreover, instead of forwarding legislation to address these human rights violations, state legislators instead passed Senate Bill 43, which guts the state’s already threadbare Human Rights Act. While the violent consequences of systemic racism are evident across the nation, we understand the dire contexts in Missouri which prompted both the state and national NAACP to issue a travel warning.
Because the conference will take place in Kansas City, MO, we have chosen to meet virtually this year. This action allows our members to attend the caucus meeting, whether they plan to boycott the convention out of solidarity or to safeguard their physical and emotional wellbeing. Our virtual meeting also allows access to people who don’t have the financial resources to attend and opens up participation to people who belong to other caucuses, who have too often had to choose between which meeting to attend.
Signed by Queer Caucus Officers,
Jackie Rhodes, Co-Chair
Professor of Rhetoric, Writing, and American Cultures, Michigan State University
GPat Patterson, Co-Chair
Assistant Professor of English, Ball State University
Don Unger, Historian
Assistant Professor of Writing & Rhetoric, St. Edward’s University
Katie Manthey, Social Media Coordinator
Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center, Salem College
Elise Dixon, Secretary
PhD Student in Writing, Rhetoric and American Culture, Michigan State University