Engagement

Dear Campus Community and Community Partners, 

A dear friend and colleague of mine, an African American scholar, poet, activist, professor, and mentor wrote me these words in a recent text exchange about the incredible grief and sorrow we are feeling. With her permission, I share them here.  “I think the most hurtful response by people at this moment is silence…or a lack of acknowledgment. It is hurtful to see people gloss over black death from the pandemic and black murder from racism like it doesn’t matter.” And I promised her that I would not stay silent. I will not stay silent because silence is complicity. 

We all watched with horror as an African American man was killed, slowly, deliberately, and without any regard for the sanctity of his life. His life was taken, unnecessarily. His life, like the lives of so many others before him, was taken without cause. And the sad truth is, we have watched this happen far too many times. It is time for us to collectively and honestly reflect on and address head-on the systemic problem we face as a society. And while we don’t have all of the answers, it is time we try to find them with honest reflection and compassion and grace.
 
Every member of our campus and surrounding community should feel welcome and safe, to feel seen and heard, to be honored, and be a valued member of our community. UNCW’s Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning will work hard to continue to uphold and strengthen our values of diversity, inclusion, and to treat all members of our community with dignity and respect. As educators, scholars, researchers, mentors, and leaders, we must face these inequities, work to dismantle the system of oppression that is not serving all of us equally, work together to participate in robust civil discourse in order to enact real change. We can work together to enact real change. It isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be simple. But it is time. 

Warmly,

Jeanine M. Mingé, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement
Executive Director of the Office of the Arts
University of North Carolina Wilmington