Dear fellow members of the LSA Community,
The past week has been one of the most painful in recent memory. I am wrenched by what we are witnessing across the country and by the pain, anger, fear, and exhaustion that I see and hear in our community. I know many of us share these feelings, but their effects have been especially devastating among members of the Black community. As we think about the anguish of this moment, we must acknowledge the harrowing history and ongoing presence of racism in this country. That it persists in such brutal ways, including by those sworn to protect and serve, makes it all the more shattering and infuriating.
I am reaching out now in deeply felt anger and solidarity to state, unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter. And please pause on that statement—on the fact that any community should have to assert that their lives matter. I know that words cannot possibly be enough, but silence is not acceptable. The horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many Black people before them are deeply and fundamentally wrong, and they’re made worse by having been done within a system in which repression and brutality are normalized.
I met with the associate deans earlier today, and we are united in our commitment to the anti-racism work that is integral to our success as a college, a community, and as a country. As leaders of LSA, we promise to continue to push for and contribute to needed systemic change, including examining our own daily institutional practices and our culture. We know that many of our LSA faculty, students, and staff are experts on the nature and problems of structural racism. As a college, this is an area where we can and must do more to support research, teaching, and evidence-based interventions to combat racism, discrimination, and bias.
The LSA DEI office is organizing virtual events for the LSA community to gather online, support one another, and discuss how we can engage collectively in structural change, both here and in the world. We will share details as soon as we have them. I am deeply grateful for this critical work. I also would like to acknowledge that lifting each other up through racial discrimination and hate is exhausting and falls especially heavily on faculty, staff, and students of color.
I ask that we stand together at this critical time—and in the coming weeks and months—to support all members of our community and to share responsibility for systemic change. Please also know that you are always welcome to reach out to me.