Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

Reflections on the Past Week 5.27.20

One week ago,
Amidst the background of an active global pandemic that has claimed the lives of thousands (disproportionately Black), we hear that George Floyd, a Black man, dies at the hands of members of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Less than a week ago,
We witness citizens around the country and in our own community risking their health and safety to demonstrate against the recent, but also very familiar, plague of senseless acts of violence that target people of color and only lead to convictions in less than 1% of the cases.
The sadness, grief, anger and loss of hope that these reprehensible acts have caused, and that our Black community has long endured, poured out. The protests often conclude with shared messages of solidarity and commitments to change. Change is long, long overdue.

Diversity and Inclusion staffs around the globe research, create, implement and monitor the efforts to build and foster more inclusive environments. We are driven to build communities that welcome and celebrate everyone with respect and dignity and unequivocally denounce cultures of hate or acts of violence related to racial identity. We work with academic and community partners to dismantle the social injustices without fanfare, in small gatherings, and often with minimal support.

Our focus on student development is unwavering, and right now our students are frustrated, shocked, overwhelmed, tired, confused, angry, fearful, sad, disappointed and ready for change. We know this because, every day, they tell us. It came as a shout one week ago.

Tomorrow (verse from “Tomorrow” by Salif Keita)

You're gonna have to live with the things you say
You'll have to cross bridges that you burned today
And everything you do, it's coming back for you
You'll never outrun what waits for you

Are you waiting for the reason to change?

Our university community must be even more committed to our mission to build and foster inclusiveness. We must support and care for each other and not forget that each of us, individually, has a role in our forward progress. Our collective failure will be maintaining the status quo and not doing the actions that were eloquently worded in the messages. The change manifested through love, caring and courage will be sustained and bring forth the humanity and justices we so desperately deserve.

- Kent Guion, MD, MA
  Chief Diversity Officer