Like many citizens around the country, I have been deeply disturbed by the reports of African-American men being shot by police officers. Of course, the words “deeply disturbed” fail to convey the pain and anger generated by the latest violence. At lunch time today students and others stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. There is so much eloquence in their shared, communal silence.
This afternoon a group of Cabinet members and I sent the following to the campus:
As we continue to witness acts of violence around our country – especially toward black and brown and other marginalized persons – we are filled with many strong emotions based upon our own identities and experiences. But, we all worry about those of us and those in our communities who are impacted by these events in myriad ways.
As a sign of our solidarity and our commitment to do whatever we can to address bias and inequity in our hearts, on our campus, and in our communities, we ask you to gather in the Huss Courtyard outside of Usdan on Tuesday 9/27 at noon. Immediately after this moment of silence and reflection, members of the CAPS team will be available in Boger 111 and staff from the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life will be available in Usdan 104D for faculty, staff and students who may want to (or need to) talk about recent events.
Beyond this visible sign of solidarity, we commit to continue our personal and institutional work toward peace, justice, equity and inclusion. We hope that you will too.
I will be traveling for Wesleyan on Tuesday, but I will be with the group in spirit in the Huss Courtyard at noon. Solidarity is crucial to building our community and to making a difference.
Solidarity is crucial and so is engagement. This is a season of change, an election season. I urge all our students, as well as faculty and staff, to play active roles as citizens. The stakes are so high.