To our readers:
In recent months, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black Americans have focused the country’s eyes on America’s longstanding history of police violence and systemic racism. At The Harvard Crimson, we condemn racism and reaffirm that Black lives matter. Our position as journalists in this historic moment demands that we fulfill our mission to report ethically and hold power accountable more than ever.
As journalists, we have the obligation to tell important stories and expose inequalities within our community. At this moment, however, we recognize the complicated relationship that historically marginalized groups have with the media; The Crimson is very much part of this complicated relationship.
The Crimson has historically been led by and made up predominantly of white staff members. As a newspaper, we have failed in our mission to represent the diversity of our student body in our staff and have not been supportive enough to Black, Latinx, and other students of color at Harvard College. Throughout The Crimson’s history, our coverage has often failed communities of color at Harvard, and there are many stories we have missed. We cannot cover a campus as diverse as Harvard without a newsroom that reflects our student body, and diversity on our staff must be the priority going forward.
This week, I along with our Managing Editor, Business Manager, and Diversity and Inclusivity Chairs, shared with The Crimson’s staff our plans toward that goal. Among them are plans to bolster our internal Diversity and Inclusivity Committee; establish a mentorship program with our alumni of color; subsidize student memberships to journalism affinity organizations; and add resources to our website explaining The Crimson’s reporting practices, mission statement, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. These steps are by no means exhaustive nor the end of our work on improving diversity and inclusion at The Crimson. We must be proactive, not reactive, in making sure the building and our work reflect the diversity of the Harvard community.
Past Crimson leaders, especially Crimson editors of color, have worked over the decades to build a more equitable publication for both for its readers and editors. We have long been slow to change and acknowledge that the burden of effecting change should not fall only on Black, Latinx, and other editors of color. The Crimson as an institution is committed to supporting them.
As a newspaper, we have a critically important role to play in serving as an outlet for truth that reflects the diverse voices of those on Harvard’s campus. We are committed to this mission, and we urge our readers to hold us accountable to it.
Aidan F. Ryan ’21
President of the 147th Guard